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  1. #1
    Senior Member Brian503a's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    California or ground zero of the invasion

    Thousands rally for immigrant rights ... 1-ds1a.htm

    Thousands rally for immigrant rights

    News and notes around the city from Sun-Times reporters:

    Truck drivers honked their horns as the marchers worked their way down Ashland toward Union Park.

    “That’s beautiful,” said Alejandro Horbatenko as he put the finishing touches on a sign reading “Give me liberty or give me death” outside his cafe, Buenes Aires Forever at 929 S. Ashland.

    Horbatenko came here as an illegal immigrant in 1964, and now owns the cafe and other businesses.

    “You must do anything to survive,” he said of his early days here. “We need to help these people. The U.S. must help these people.”

    About a block away, a vendor had a “dos for cinco” — two for $5 — special, one U.S. flag and one Mexican flag.

    About 30 Korean Americans marched, banging a Kwenggari, a traditional drum farmers use to celebrate the harvest. Such vocal displays are something new for Korean Americans, who generally avoid such demonstrations, they said.

    “Asians, we want our rights as well,” said Lester Vicencio, president of the youth council at the Korean American Resource & Cultural Center. “We’re going to speak out a lot here, just to break that stereotype. The kids are passionate about it. And the parents are learning from their kids.”

    Susannah Kim, 25, said they brought the Kwengarri because it respresents “the people at the bottom.”

    “And that’s what this march is about, the hard-working people coming out to [take] a risk,” she said.

    A Nigerian immigrant who came here 10 years ago, Efua Enaholo, 25, said she came out to call for African Americans and Latinos to work together because they face similar challenges, including lack of jobs.

    “We’re two different people just walking in the dark that soon will collide if we don’t come up with a common agenda,” Enaholo said.

    - Scott Fornek


    12:30 p.m.

    Bogdan Macjejczyk, 24, headed toward Grant Park at lunchtime, marching with a group of fellow immigrants who were holding red-and-white Polish flags.

    Macjejczyk said he is in the United States illegally. He said he has been here for two years, works in construction and pays taxes.

    “I think, for me now, the U.S.A is the best place to be,’’ Macjejczyk said. Chicago, he said, is “the second capital of Poland. First is Warsaw, and second is Chicago.’’

    He believes the Sensenbrenner bill criminalizes immigrants. “This is very crazy for me because I don’t steal. I am honest. I am good people.

    “Immigrants, they make this country, so why are they trying to make us criminals? I don’t understand.”

    - Eric Herman


    They came by themselves. They came in groups. They spoke Spanish. They spoke Polish. They wore T-shirts celebrating their native lands. They waved American flags. They banged traditional Korean drums. They wore traditional Aztec garb and blew on a conch.

    But no matter what the language or culture, all had the same message.

    “We are not criminals here,” said Rodrigo Avilles. “We are not a plague.”

    Thousands turned out for the pro-immigration march that began on the Near West Side and was to culminate in rally in Grant Park.

    “What would the city of Chicago be without the immigrants here today?” Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) asked a crowd of thousands gathering at Union Park.

    Gutierrez led the crowd in a chant, “Today we march. Tomorrow we vote.”

    - Scott Fornek


    11:45 a.m.

    Organized labor had a strong presence at the rally.

    Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) spoke at Union Park from the side of a Teamsters truck that opened up like a stage amid waving signs for the SEIU and other unions.

    “It’s important to recognize that there is fear out there, there are those who want to turn back the clock,” Obama said. “We have to reach out to those folks and explain to them that our future will be better together than divided.

    “Citizenship has its obligations. Citizenship obliges us to have a common purpose. . . . .This movement has to be a movement that lifts up Americas ideals. There is nothing to fear. People who have come here have come here for the same reasons that generations have come — they want a better life for their children.

    “Today, in our armed services, serve tens of thousands of immigrants that are not citizens of the United States,’’ Obama said. “They pay the highest tax that anyone can pay. They pay tax with their lives and their blood.’’

    Approximately 2,000 people arrived in SEIU Local 73 buses from Elgin, Cicero and Aurora, said local president Christine Boardman. “We think that immigration rights are also worker rights,’’ Boardman said. “We understand the role that immigration has played in building up this country and we need some reasonable laws to be passed as opposed to the Sensenbrenner bill.”

    Also present at the rally were Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.)

    - Eric Herman


    11:30 a.m.

    The diverse face of the city’s immigrant community was on display at one of the march’s starting points, a small triangular plaza at Milwaukee Avenue, Division Street and Chicago Avenue.

    “Si, se puede!” the crowd chanted, Spanish for “Yes, we can.”

    The crowd of several thousands gathering there shortly after 10 a.m. included people carrying woven bags with Ecuador written on them, T-shirts celebrating Ireland, people wrapped in the red and white Polish flag and Arabs wearing black and white “I am not a terrorist” T-shirts.

    “This will turn everything for good,” said Ladyslaw Paluszek, 85, a North Side resident who came here from Poland 28 years ago.

    Paluszek heard about the march on Polish language radio and came to support illegal immigrants, arguing it’s unfair to make them pay taxes but not provide them with basic rights.

    “This is something wrong,” he said.

    Victor Maldonado, 30, and his wife, Anna Joyce, brought their 4-month-old daughter, Angelina.

    “Most of my family was illegal when we came here in the ‘70s,” said Maldonado, whose family came from Mexico and did farm work in California. “It’s so important. It’s human rights.”

    Joyce added: “The backbone of this country is built on immigrant labor, and there’s no Social Security. There’s no safety net at all.”

    At about 10:30 a.m. the crowd began to march toward Union Park, the Near West Side park that is the march’s main launching point.

    American flags snapped in the air, and signs reading “We are not criminals” waved as groups of demonstrators moved into Union Park at Ashland and Ogden.

    Rodrigo Avilles of the Southwest Side Brighton Park neighborhood came with his mother, Aurelia, who came here illegally from Mexico. She was so afraid that she would not be able to get back into the United States, that she never went back to Mexico for a visit — not even for her mother’s funeral.

    “I had to come,” Avilles said. “I came for my mother. I hope [Congress] realizes that we are not criminals here. We are not a plague. They make it sound like we don’t belong here. We do very good here.”

    Today’s march and rally followed a similar effort on March 10, a gathering of more than 100,000 that local organizers say jump-started the national pro-immigration movement.

    “It gives me a proud feeling that a national movement began in Chicago because Chicago has always been ahead of the curve,” Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) told the crowd in Union Park shortly after 11 a.m., calling it “a movement to lift up people.”

    “There’s no reason why we cannot have one America,” the South Side Democrat said.

    The spark for the demonstrations was a bill that passed the U.S. House in December. Sponsored by Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), the measure sought to make illegal immigration a felony, tighten border security and impose sharp penalties on employers who hire illegal immigrants.

    “It’s very important any law passed does not crimialize immigrants or criminalize state employees,” said Jose Lopez, president of the Illinois Association of Hispanic State.

    Lopez said the first march “was something that woke up the immigrant community,” but he said this one is even more important than the March 10 event because it is only one of dozens planned today in cities across the nation.

    - Annie Sweeney and Mark Konkol


    11 a.m.

    By mid-morning, the southwest corner of Union Park near Randolph and Ashland was jammed people holding pro-amnesty signs and flags — perhaps 60 percent of them American flags, some carrying Mexican banners. Many people were holding both.

    The crowd chanted “Si, se puede” (Yes, we can) in English and Spanish, and “Today we March, Tomorrow we Vote.”

    Luis Quizhpes, 56, originally from Ecuador, was at the park selling small flags for $2. He offered banners from the United States, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, and also the flag of the United Nations. He also was selling larger American flags for $15.

    Sales were “equal between Mexico and the U.S. because everyone wants to become a U.S. citizen,” he said.

    Quizhpes said he is an American citizen but has many relatives who want to become citizens. “We are not criminals,” he said.

    Raquel Garcia, 42, a Cicero maintenance worker who is originally from Guatemala, was at Union Park with her Mexican-born husband Artemio and their son, Jose, who was born in the United States. She waved American and Mexican flags. Garcia is a legal resident who has been in this country for 18 years. She wants to apply to become a citizen.

    “We need to have the dignity. We pay taxes. We’re working. We’re not delinquents,’’ she said. “We don’t have too many opportunities in Mexico or South America.’’

    Popular signs stated: “Amnistia: Full Rights for all Immigrants” and “Legalize, Don’t Criminalize.”

    - Eric Herman


    10:30 a.m.

    Just past 10:30 this morning, as march preparations intensified at Union Park, traffic on Ogden near the Near West Side park was at a standstill.

    And many who had driven in to march from Union Park were parking their cars nearby at the United Center.

    - Scott Fornek


    10:06 a.m.

    A group that started in the hundreds at the corner of Blue Island and Wood grew into the thousands as the group marched closer to Grant Park and this afternoon’s massive immigrants’ rights rally, in a block-long procession on Ashland.

    Truckers and CTA buses beeped horns in solidarity as people used their fingers to wave peace signs out of their car windows.

    Ashland was a sea of white T-shirts and American flags as the crowd made its way through the heavily Latino neighborhood to downtown shouting in Spanish:

    “Que queremos? (What do we want?)”

    “Amnestia! (Amnesty)”

    “Quando? (When?)”

    “Ahora (Now)”

    The group started at Centro Sin Frontera. At the head of the line were 26 workers from Mexico who were arrested and are now facing deportation charges after a raid at the Ifco plant two weeks ago. The members of the group hope the march will help their cause.

    “We’re all trying to think positively and hppe there wil be some justice,” said Flor Crisostomo, 27. She has been in the United States for six years and was one of the 26 workers rounded up two weeks ago.,

    With each block, more people joined the march, accepting American flags from the organizers.

    When the march passed 18th street, the usually bustling Pilsen thoroughfare looked like a ghost town, with businesses closed as far as the eye could see.

    - Lucio Guerrero
    Support our FIGHT AGAINST illegal immigration & Amnesty by joining our E-mail Alerts at

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Star Angeles
    These marches have NOTHING to do with IMMIGRANT rights. The only problem LEGAL immigrants might have is the LONG wait to come to America. And these ILLEGALS who cut to the front of the are taking away the rights of immigrants rather than giving them rights.

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