200 gather in show of solidarity in C’dale
CARBONDALE – Some 200 people spoke in two languages but with one voice Monday during a pro-immigrant rally at Sopris Park.”Somos iguales. Somos humanos todos,” said Noe Huerta of Mexico during a Day of Solidarity ordered by the peace group Valley Pax Christi.The translation: “We are equal. We are all humans.” It was a message Anglos and Latinos alike agreed to with a chorus of “Si” when Huerta spoke.Several people shouldered bilingual signs at the noon-hour event. Among the messages were “Liberty and Justice for All,” “The Earth has no Border” and “We are All Citizens of Earth.””The signs that you carry are significant indications of how much we owe to new immigrants,” said Jack Real, one of the event’s organizers.He spoke out against calls for a crackdown on immigration and building a wall at the southern U.S. border.”We think that is not American,” he said.Carolyn Prinster, another Valley Pax Christi member, said there needs to be a more just and humane global economy so people aren’t forced to leave their own countries to survive. Fellow organizer Sue Lavin referred rally participants to a handout with contact information for politicians and background on immigration reform efforts.”Sympathy for this cause is not going to be enough. You’re going to have to take action and influence politics,” Lavin said.Monday’s event was intended to be an opportunity for Anglos to show their support for Latinos, in conjunction with the national “Day Without Immigrants” movement. So Prinster said she was surprised to see many Latinos in attendance as well. She also was pleased with the turnout.”Somebody said there would be a thousand. I would have been happy with a hundred,” she said.As the group sang “We Shall Overcome,” Huerta said in an interview that he also was happy about the event.”My corazon is mucho good,” he said, thumping his heart with his hand. “I’m mucho feliz, much happy for this.”In a way, his blending of languages reflected his hopes for intercultural relations.”I want everybody together – American, Mexican, whatever,” he said.Nora Mata, who is from Mexico, voiced a similar sentiment after the rally.”It’s only one culture. … We’re all together,” she said.Several Latinos carried U.S. flags during the rally to make a point, Mata said.”We’re not here (in the United States) just to think of our own country. We’re here to be part of this country,” she said.She said she appreciated the support shown by Anglos Monday.Diane Kenney, a Carbondale artist who also teaches Spanish and English as a Second Language courses, told the Latinos that their arrival has enriched the culture of the Roaring Fork Valley.”I think it has just made this a much more wonderful place to live,” Kenney said.Richard Shivley told participants that he thinks anybody in the country now should become a citizen, and a logical system should be put in place for people to enter the country in the future.He added in a later interview, “We need to slow the flow down and figure out how we’re going to do it.”Law-breakers – especially those involved with drugs – must be denied citizenship, Shivley said.He questioned the corporate mentality of outsourcing jobs even as more people are coming into the country to work. He also admitted to some mixed feelings about the influx of immigrants. Some of them seem to milk the system by tapping into medical and social service aid, Shivley believes.”I think we’ve got to make it known that there’s no free lunch … for anyone,” he said.
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