New Hope in the Movement for Immigrant Rights

By Jimmy McCarty 5-07-2009

090507-immigration-reform-not-raidsThis past Friday, May 1, 2009, I joined with thousands of others across the country in marching for immigrant and worker's rights. I was part of the march that began in Echo Park in Los Angeles, went down Sunset Boulevard, and concluded in front of Our Lady of Queen Angeles Church near historic Olvera Street near downtown. At that location we created a giant human postcard that was sent to President Obama that said "Worker's First." (Pictures can be found here). We marched, waved "We are Human" signs, chanted "Si se Puede!" and sang "La Bamba." It was an honor to march in solidarity with those seeking justice in their lives. At the end of the day my feet were a little tired, but my soul was refreshed; I had let my voice be heard on the side of justice, and I had spent time in the presence of God who was in our midst.

Marches like this have occurred every May 1 since 2000. This is the first year, however, that they have occurred with our current president in office. My prayer, both when on my knees and when marching with my feet, is that President Obama will truly hear the cries of those on the margins of our society and work to ensure them justice. Many of those I marched beside are not paid fair wages, are treated unjustly and inhumanely, and kept in the shadows of our society because we do not want to acknowledge their presence and contribution to our collective lives. This is not fair nor just and does not reflect life in God's kingdom.

My hope is that when May 1, 2010, comes around there will be no more marches because all will be celebrating their newly enjoyed, though always deserved, rights. God is always on the side of justice. May the faithful witness of those who partner with God in that pursuit be blessed and heard.

Jimmy McCartyJimmy McCarty is a student at Claremont School of Theology studying Christian ethics, a minister serving cross-racially at a church in inner-city Los Angeles, and a servant at a homeless shelter five days a week. He blogs at

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