Sunday, May 2, 2010


Downtown Los Angeles became a sea of joyous and hopeful people on May Day this year. In a stunning turnout of people of all backgrounds, ages, and affiliations Broadway Street from Temple to Olympic resounded with song, chants, and spirited encouragement for all immigrants in our country.

I was struck by the hope-filled yearnings of so many people to have Congress pass a comprehensive immigration reform law to alleviate the fears and apprehensions of so many people living and working here without proper legal status. The sentiments were the same from all speakers addressing the assembled group: immigrants do not come to our country to rob and plunder our resources. We applaud government efforts to apprehend all those involved in criminal activity, such as drug and human traffikers--but they represent a tiny fraction of undocumented peoples living in our country.

Walking along the streets with these thousands of people enabled me to listen once again to their stories. And these stories all follow a similar pattern: either children are brought to this country by parents seeking a better future for them, or they are adults looking for a more secure life for themselves and their families--all the while contributing to building up our communities and nation.

The recent anti-immigrant law passed in Arizona galvenized everyone on May Day to unite all of our efforts to respect the dignity and rights of all immigrants, and to work for legislative reform which would better secure our borders, unite separated families, supply temporary workers as needed and through a just system, and to call from the shadows the millions of people here who need a path forward which would lead to a secure legal status now and citizenship in the future.

Absent was vitriolis and hateful rhetoric. Rather, all speakers raised up the human dignity and needed protections for everyone living in, and contributing to, the well-being of our country. In fact, joyful and upbeat hearts brought a carnival atmosphere to the massive rally. A sea of American flags of all sizes and shapes was evident everywhere, held up with pride by people of all size and shade of color.

I would refer you to the recent website which enables you to meet and hear the stories of real immigrants living in our midst:

Above all, let us continue to lift up in our prayer all immigrants in our country and to work towards full immigration reform which will remove the stigma of "illegal" from countless brothers and sisters.