BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -
People passionate about immigration reform filled the streets of central Bakersfield today to send a strong message to lawmakers.
The birthday of Cesar Chavez is celebrated in eight states across the country including California and to honor his work, thousands of people are walking in 7 different marches for a new immigration process.
Several advocates are taking center stage and pushing for change.
“That road map to citizenship really is something crucial for these individuals who really contribute to our society especially here in the San Joaquin Valley,” said Diana Tellefson Torres, executive director of the UFW Foundation.
Members of the United Farm Workers of America joined community leaders and families impacted by current immigration laws to talk about the struggles they face every day.
“These people are the individuals who are making our economy better, who are participating and creating a lot of other opportunities for other people as well,” said Torres.
Hundreds are marching with signs and t-shirts, chanting and putting pressure on area legislators.
Organizers say the point of this march is to urge lawmakers to adopt a plan that would allow for a pathway to citizenship to the almost 11 million undocumented individuals living in the U.S.
The marches are part of the UFW’s national campaign and more are planned within the next few months.
“I’m here to support legalized immigration process, a new process so that all of our people in this country can be here legally,” said Lisa Buckner who is participating in the march.
“It’s important that families stay together and they are not separated for any reason and that eventually helps our children as they grow into adults,” said Rosario Gonzales of Bakersfield.
“I’m happy these people who took time from their lives to come over here and I’m really happy they showed up,” said Daniel Jimenez who came up from Taft for the event.
But not everyone is pleased about the marches taking place.
“Right now everybody’s putting it into a race issue and it’s not a race issue, there’s immigration and there’s illegal immigration. We have a way to come in here legally and when you come here illegally you’re disrespecting the country,” said Ken James who is against the march.
A series of events and marches are planned within the next few months in communities around California, Washington, Oregon and Washington, DC.
For a picture of the event visit: ww.facebook.com/carloscorrea23abc