Entertainers and Immigrant Rights Organizations Call For Unity and Participation in March 25 Immigration Reform Forum
(Asian Journal March 13th, 2007)

LOS ANGELES – On the eve of the anniversary that marks last year’s first massive civic march focusing on immigration reform, artists and immigrants rights organizations joined in one voice to call on the 110th Congress and President Bush to approve a realistic, fair, and humane immigration reform bill in 2007. They also extended an invitation for immigrant communities all over the Southwest to participate in the First Annual Forum of Immigrant Communities “Justice for Our Families Now” to be held on March 25 at the LA Sports Arena from 10 am to 2 pm.

“Immigrants’ rights and immigration reform is the civil rights struggle of our time. America must be reminded of the importance that immigrants play in this society and that the stability of this country rests on the integration and progress of new Americans. The March 25 event is a strategic event to reignite the debate on this critical issue of our time,” said Francisco Moreno, COFEM President.

“Immigrant communities in the United States are an integral part of the society and they contribute to the well being of America. We ask Congress to do what is right, what is fair, and what is humane and to bring millions out of the shadows,” stated Angela Sanbrano, CARECEN Executive Director, one of several community organizations coordinating the Forum.

The Forum is scheduled exactly one year after the first massive marches took place in Los Angeles and other urban centers throughout the United States and it is intended to educate, celebrate, and mobilize immigrant communities. Mixed with live entertainment, community leaders, and elected officials, participants will learn about the citizenship process, voter registration, and what an immigration reform would look like. In lieu of an admission ticket, community members are asked to bring a blank envelope and a .39 cent stamp. More than 10,000 participants are expected.

“The March 25 Forum is important because immigration reform can no longer wait. All families must unite to reach this goal,” stated Carlos Vaquerano, SALEF Executive Director.

Coordinators emphasized that the impetus for an indoor rally was to help in the education of community. Organizers recognized that learning about the intricacies of an immigration reform proposal takes time and differing strategies, such as smaller settings and active participation by community members.

“We have been hearing about an immigration reform bill for months now,” said Angelica Salas, CHIRLA Executive Director. “We want to take this opportunity to answer questions that the community may have, to have families inspired to act by the potential for change, and we are engaging artists and elected officials to help us educate our community.”

“It is our goal, as a unified community, to send a powerful message to Congress that will resonate throughout this great Nation of ours,” stated Eun Sook Lee, NAKASEC Executive Director.

Four main principles and community priorities underline the coordination of the Forum:

· The enactment of a fair and humane immigration reform bill for the nearly 12 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States that takes in consideration the root causes of migration;
· Stop the raids and deportations that separate families, instill terror and fear in our communities, and do nothing to solve to address the broken immigration system;
· No exorbitant fee increases on the naturalization and other immigration services;
· The enactment of a health care reform package in the State of California that meets the needs of all Californians.

Spanish language disc jockeys have been invited to partner with coordinators to increase promotional efforts for this event. A corrido, a sung tale written by Roberto Bravo, will be played in various media outlets as a theme song for the March 25 gathering. Other invited artists include Juan Rivera (Lupillo Rivera’s brother), Vilma Diaz of La Sonora Dinamita, Mauro Calderon, Jose Hernandez of El Mariachi Sol de Mexico, and a Korean dance troupe. The Forum is the first of various activities planned throughout the year, said coordinating organizations.

The coordinating body, Justice for Our Families Committee, includes the following organizations: Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC), Central American Resource Center (CARECEN), Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), Consejo de Federaciones Mexicanas en Norte America (COFEM), Hermandad Mexicana Nacional (HMN), National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC), Korean Resource Center (KRC), National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund (NALEO), and the Salvadoran American Leadership and Education Fund (SALEF).