Immigrants at crossroads

Stakes are high for legalization campaign/Chicago Tribune/Oscar Avila and Michael Martinez/[[May 1, 2006]]/ link or link

Days before a massive immigrant rights rally in Grant Park, organizers of the snowballing social movement were racing to firm up plans: They had to consult with Chicago police brass on Monday's route. They were unsure which congressmen would attend.

...The objective Monday is more ambitious: a march of at least 300,000 people to the downtown park to voice support for legalizing the majority of the nation's more than 11 million undocumented immigrants. The march will coincide with events from Phoenix to Pittsburgh, a follow-up to a massive March 10 rally in Chicago.

...Pilsen resident Claudia Lucero, 32, represents the heart of the movement. After migrating from Mexico at 17, she is now vice president of Durango Unido, a group of immigrants from that Mexican state. She also has helped mobilize fellow students at the University of Illinois at Chicago via e-mails and text messages.

...Mexico's three major political parties have outposts in Chicago that include experienced and passionate activists. The three parties had already worked together to register expatriate voters for Mexico's presidential election in July. The Illinois branch of the Democratic Revolutionary Party has 5,000 names on its roster, members who are used to holding news conferences and keeping tabs on legislation.

Even more vital are the 275 immigrant associations in the Chicago area that represent Mexicans from a certain hometown or state. The hometown associations typically meet once a month and provided a ready-made way to disseminate information. While some have only a few dozen members, the largest groups number about 2,000.

..."It's like a tree that begins bearing fruit," said Jose Artemio Arreola, a key march organizer and executive with a federation of immigrants from the state of Michoacan...

..."After bringing 300,000 people into the streets, we are not going to take orders from these `organizations,' (National Council of La Raza and the League of United Latin American Citizens)" said Jorge Mujica, a journalist and march organizer...

...Armando Elenes, a United Farm Workers organizer in California's Central Valley, said he thinks the late Cesar Chavez, founder of the UFW, would have backed the general strike...

Christian Ramirez, a San Diego community organizer, said...

...After sitting out the first march, dozens of Korean immigrants will bus in Monday from their senior center. The call has gone out through Polish newspapers and radios. The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago will provide buses from mosques and Islamic schools.

Still, Abdul Malik Mujahid, chairman of the Muslim council, which backs the call for legalization, said he does not yet feel it is his place to offer suggestions to march organizers.

..."We need to be very careful," said Marcia Soto, a march organizer and president of CONFEMEX, a Chicago group...

Immigration rally schedule

10 a.m. -- Two feeder marches will head toward Union Park, where a larger crowd will assemble to begin its march to Grant Park. The feeder marches will start at Milwaukee and Ashland Avenues on the North Side and Ashland Avenue and 19th Street on the South Side.

10:45 a.m. -- At Union Park, scheduled speakers include U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) and state Sen. Miguel del Valle (D-Chicago).

12 p.m. -- Marchers will leave Union Park and head to Grant Park. Their route: east on Randolph Street to Haymarket Square, south on Desplaines Street, east on Jackson Boulevard, south on Columbus Drive, ending at Lower Hutchinson Field near Balbo Drive.

2 p.m. -- Rally begins at Lower Hutchinson Field. Scheduled speakers include U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) and state Sen. Martin Sandoval (D-Chicago).

4 p.m. -- Interfaith prayer service begins at Lower Hutchinson Field. Scheduled speakers include Cardinal Francis George.

4:30 p.m. -- Rally scheduled to end.

- - -

Immigration events planned in suburbs


4 p.m.: Immigrant Rights March

March will begin at Lords Park (corner of Franklin and Grand Boulevards) and ends at Old Elgin Library (270 N. Grove Ave.)


3 p.m.: Immigrant Rights March

March will begin at Sacred Heart Catholic Church (corner of Fulton and State Streets) and end at McCullough Park (adjacent to Prisco Center, corner of Lake Street and Illinois Avenue.)


9:30 a.m.: Rally for Immigrant Families

The rally will be held at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, 205 E. Jackson St.


3 p.m.: Rally for Immigrant Rights

The rally will be at Albright Field, 50th Street, Cermak Road.

Sources: March 10 Committee, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) of Cicero.