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Many Faces, One Voice

By Kevin Robinson in News on May 1, 2007 1:50PM

2007_5_immigration.jpgAs you read this, thousands of people are preparing to march from Union Park to Grant Park, past the Federal Center in the Loop, hoping that they can impress upon the rest of the nation the importance not only of their struggle, but the impact and significance that their lives have had upon our nation. Around the US today, immigration rights activists, immigrants, and yes, natural born Americans, will be carrying American flags in marches to signify the struggle for justice, fairness, and the promise of liberty and equality that America was built on.

One year ago today, nearly half a million people shut down vast portions of the Chicago economy in a day of protest, aimed at drawing attention to the plight of people that have come here from all parts of the world, all walks of life, for a chance at a better life. Often derided as criminals who sap the lifeblood out of our economy, or marginalized as lower-class workers who take jobs that most Americans "don't want", the reality is that many of these people have come here to live simply as the rest of us do - lives of quiet fulfillment, stability, and the chance to see their children grow up into a future of good choices and better opportunities than they had.

As the floundering Bush Administration grasps for a domestic victory to hang what's left of it's legacy on, and the newly emboldened Democratic-controlled Congress grapples with it's conservative elements and the more moderate side of the Republican Party, and entire segment of the American workforce waits in the wings, hoping for the chance to be legitimized, and the freedom to come out from under the shadows and live a life meaning and purpose, without fear of tomorrow. It is only fitting that one year ago today, one of the biggest marches for immigration justice took place in a city built on the labor, lives, and passion of people from all over the world. Although today's march will be, without doubt, overwhelmingly Latino, it is important to remember that this struggle isn't only about the Mexican that washes dishes anonymously in a hot kitchen, or the Romanian that built your condo. Today's march means equalizing the economy for the Moroccan architect, the Polish psychiatrist, and the Bulgarian steelworker. In many ways, this march is about all of us here in the City by the Lake, and our collective future here in a nation of many people, living as one.