The immigrants’ long march

By David Brooks

ON January 1, Latin American immigrant students in the United States set off on the “Trail of Dreams,” a walk of almost 2,500 kilometers from Miami to Washington DC, for the dignity of their community, with the demand of immigration reforms to end the separation of families, deportations and subhuman living conditions in the shadows for more than 12 million undocumented immigrants.

Your browser may not support display of this image. “We’re going to walk to share our stories nationwide, and with the message of ending the separation of families and the suffering,” commented Juan Rodríguez, one of the participants, who came from Colombia with his family at the age of six. He spoke with La Jornada newspaper by telephone from Miami as he was preparing to begin the walk.

“I think that people want freedom, economic freedom, political freedom, but the opposite is happening here: we are living in the shadows. With this walk, we are announcing that we are coming out of the shadows. We know that we are running a risk (being detained and even deported, given that several of the marchers are undocumented and will be passing through anti-immigrant areas), but we don’t want to live in fear anymore,” affirmed Felipe Matos, 24, another participant who came to the United States from Brazil 10 years ago.

The four participants who are committed to walking the entire distance are student activists in immigrant rights’ movements. They plan to walk through Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia and arrive in Washington on May 1, where they hope to join thousands of immigrants who will be demonstrating, marking a date that has become immigrants’ day as a result of mobilizations in recent years.

As they pass through towns and cities, the students will hold forums and meetings to exchange stories and generate solidarity, while other immigrant students, religious figures, trade unionists, community organizers and sympathizers will join in to accompany the four for a distance.

Several of them, who face difficult situations because they are undocumented, and other “legal” ones who have relatives or friends in those circumstances, from Mexico, Central America and other countries, have committed to accompany them along different stages of the long trip.

The initiative came out of the Students Working for Equal Rights, (SWER) organization, along with the Florida Immigrant Coalition and national groups advocating immigration reforms.

Translated by Granma International


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