by David Dixon, May 1, 2007
Over 500 people, mostly Latin@, rallied at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Government Center in uptown Charlotte for “fair immigration laws”. It was organized by Communities For Comprehensive Immigration Reform.
Speakers said that everyone had a right to be there, pointing out that the massive new jail & other huge buildings around had been built largely by immigrants. Immigrant workers are not criminals, they are just seeking to make a better life for themselves and families.
They pointed out that immigrants pay taxes like everybody else, every time they buy something. In addition, taxes & Social Security/Medicare withheld from workers pay checks deemed “illegal” are never credited to them. Hence, they pay more taxes than the average person in America.
Ahmad Daniels gave a message of solidarity from the African-American Community. He said the current struggle for immigrant rights was like the African-American’s struggle for civil rights. He urged all present to be proud of whatever country they are from and their cultures.
A young girl from Honduras spoke about she had lived here in Charlotte for 10 years and was afraid her parents could be deported and her family torn apart. Angeles Ortega with the Latin American Coalition also spoke and a message of solidarity from Charlotte City Person Jennifer Roberts was delivered. There were a few musical performers that played acoustic guitar and sang.
Some young Latin@s sang the national anthem and Pledge of Allegiance to the flag to demonstrate their love for their new country. Organizers wanted to make clear that they were here at the rally & the U.S. in the spirit of friendship and wanted to continue to be a part of the community.
When racist counter-protesters showed up with a large sign reading “Seal The Border”, David Dixon, with Action Center For Justice (local International Action Center affiliate), stood directly in front of it with a sign reading, “No Human Is Illegal! Full Rights For Immigrants NOW!”
This got a lot of attention from the media & those present as Dixon, one of the only whites present, debated one of the counter-protesters. The Latin@ press covered & recorded the whole exchange as Dixon explained everyone that wants to come work & bring their families here had a right to. This country was built by immigrants. The American & big corporations can cross any border they want to and underpay & take advantage of people, so the people have a right to come to the U.S. if they want to. He pointed out that a large portion of the southwestern U.S. used to belong to Mexico until it was stolen from them by the U.S.
While the corporate media focused on some rallies being smaller than last year, some of the busiest streets in Charlotte were noticeably empty. An untold number of thousands stayed out of work & some students from school as their way of taking part in the May 1 Immigrant Rights actions.
May 1 Charlotte Movement For Worker & Immigrant Rights
Action Center For Justice