An Interview With "Freedom Ride" Organizer
September 19, 2003
By Igor Gonzalez
The president of the Central Labor Council of New York, Brian McLaughlin,
visited Hoy in order to share his point of view in regards to an
upcoming pro-immigrant event, the ‘Immigrant Workers Freedom
Ride.’ The Freedom Ride is a nation-wide mobilization that
seeks to garner respect for the rights of immigrants. The main
New York event will take place on Saturday October 4th at Flushing-Meadows
Park in Queens. This event will be the culmination of a large caravan
that is currently visiting major cities throughout the country.
is the principal goal of the caravan?
We are fighting to obtain legal status for immigrants that allows
a path to citizenship, for a right to family reunification, for
work-place protection for immigrants, for a reduced waiting period
for the application of family members and to protect civil liberties.
leaders are criticizing the event for not demanding an out-right
amnesty and because that could become a platform issue for politicians…..
word ‘amnesty’ always causes fear in a lot of people.
We prefer this type of mobilization rather than asking for a general
amnesty. I am offended that some politicians go around speaking
Spanish but have nothing to back that up with. The most important
thing is to see what will happen after October 4th.
What is the
motivation to put together an event like this?
Immigrant workers are a vital part of our economy and society.
Millions of families are paying taxes, contributing to our communities.
They have dreams for their children and concerns for their own
safety. This is a moral compromise with those workers who sacrifice
themselves contributing to the U.S. economy. The ‘Freedom
Ride’ is inspired by the civil rights movements lead by the
African-American community in the sixties. Many communities are
getting ready for what they think will be a ‘historic day.’ Richard
Cecere, the president of Community Board # 3 of Jackson Heights
said that: “Our community is very involved in this event
because it will take place in our own neighborhood; families and
other residents are very enthusiastic.”
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Translated from Spanish by Valeria Treves