Mayor Coleman, others condemn HR 4437
Commentary by Marivel Aguirre-Aranda, La Prensa Reporter
The chill of the day did not stop about three thousand people from peacefully rallying Sunday, March 26, 2006, at Ohio’s Capitol in Columbus, to protest U.S. House Bill HR 4437, a.k.a. the Sensenbrenner-King bill, and its numerous provisions, with chants, gritos, and claps.
The flock was concerned with many harsh sections of HR 4437, passed by the House of Representatives on December 16th, 2005, including: erection of 700 miles of wall separating the United States from México, making local police personnel immigration agents, and making felons of all undocumented immigrants or those organizations that assist them.
Marivel Aguirre-Aranda, on assignment at Columbus rally opposing 4437.
This rally was one of many across the country the past several days, including large marches and rallies in Los Angeles (500,000 plus), Chicago (350,000 plus), Denver (10,000 plus), Phoenix (10,000 plus), Atlanta (10,000 plus), Milwaukee (10,000 plus), Detroit (4,000 plus), and Grand Rapids.
A rally and march are scheduled at Michigan’s Capitol in Lansing this Friday, March 31, 11:00AM—in celebration of César E. Chávez’s birthday and in opposition to HR 4437.
The Columbus magnitude commenced to gather at 1:00 p.m., and by 2:00 p.m. the first orators were introduced. The rally began with a Ugandan pastor and prayer. There was a diversity of people present although the more numerous groups were Latinos. This diversity included Irish-Americans from Youngstown, whose speaker indicated that over 50,000 undocumented Irish nationals would be affected.
Notable speakers were the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) President Baldemar Velásquez, FLOC’s Beatriz Maya, and Julia Arbini Carbonell, the president of the Ohio Hispanic Coalition (OHC).
Also, speeches by representatives from Inmigrantes Mayas Guatemaltecos (MIGUATE), the Cincinnati Coalition for Immigrant Rights and Dignity (CODEDI), Comite Guatemalteco de Cincinnati, and the Immigrant Worker Project (IWP) were given.
FLOC, CODEDI, MIGUATE, and IWP merged forces for this event under the rubric of Red de Inmigrantes de Ohio (RIO).
The highlight of the afternoon included a short speech by Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman, who said that all immigration reform should contain a path to legal residency.
“House bill 4437 is a sledge hammer against all Americans; it is divisive and un-American,” said Coleman.
FLOC's Blademar Velasquez praying with members and supporters of FLOC prior to FLOC's departure to the rally in Columbus.