Sí, se puede: Thousands rally for immigration reform in Bakersfield

A young UDW fan urges McCarthy to keep families together.

A young UDW fan urges McCarthy to keep families together.

It was 10 am and nearly 90 degrees, but the slow morning heat couldn’t keep the crowd of more than one thousand people gathered in a Bakersfield parking lot from buzzing with energy. People in decorated cars, vans, buses—even a gigantic Teamsters semi-truck—were gearing up to begin the second leg of the Caravan to Citizenship; the first had been completed that morning as folks traveled from as far south as San Diego and as far north as Sacramento at 5 AM.

The idea was simple: 150 years ago, a man named Thomas Baker welcomed Gold Rush era-travelers to rest and spend the night in his field. Now, many years later, Bakersfield has become a symbol of freedom and the pursuit of the American Dream, a dream that millions of immigrants share.

The purpose of the August 14th event, which included the caravan, a rally in Yokuts Park, and a march to Kern County congressman Kevin McCarthy’s office, was to demand a vote on immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship. At the rally, dozens of people—activists, community leaders, and representatives from unions, including UDW—spoke out in favor of keeping our families together, telling Rep. McCarthy “our families matter just as much as yours!”. Cries of “si se puede!” and “yes we can!” came from the crowd, as rally participants spoke in both English and Spanish.

By 2 pm temperatures reached 100 degrees, and folks began the march from the park to McCarthy’s office. Watch a short video of the march (and see if you can spot UDW caregivers!) here.

The time is now for immigration reform!

The time is now for immigration reform!

Last week, UDW Kern District Chair Concepcion Gonzales spoke out about why she supports comprehensive immigration reform:

“Throughout my life I have experienced the pain and struggles of being treated differently because of my legal status,” she said. There are millions of people who have worked in America their whole lives, Gonzales argued, who are “in need of services like IHSS, or who would like to be IHSS providers, but cannot without immigration reform . . . We should all be given the same opportunities in life. Reform is long overdue. We need to work together and stand strong.

Check out California Labor Federation’s coverage of the rally here, and look through their photo album on Flickr.

To tell your local congressperson that you want comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship, call 1-888-563-8430.

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Paid for by United Domestic Workers of America Action Fund, sponsored by United Domestic Workers of America. Not authorized by a candidate or a committee controlled by a candidate.

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