Yesterday I walked down to the National Mall took part in the March for America. There were over 200,000 people of all colors and backgrounds (some reports as many as 500,0000) demanding action from our government to pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform.
You may not have been aware such a large gathering took place if you were watching the news around the country. It seems a couple dozen dead-ender Tea Partiers determined to thwart progress are more newsworthy than a crowd 1/3 the size of the population of DC gathering to fight for social and economic justice.
[ Update: 12:48pm Eastern ]: Check out the great coverage at the March for America official site on this march and the ones across the country
I was on the Mall yesterday for the march. That's where I took the photo above. You can check out my photos (along with other marchers) via America's Voice's photostream on flickr. I'm pulling together reports from around the blogosphere and the traditional media for a wrap-up of yesterday's March for America.
AmericaBlog really captured the lack of coverage this morning in their open thread:
There was also a massive immigration reform march on the Mall yesterday. Only over 200,000 people showed up, so naturally the traditional media didn't spend too much time covering the march. There were a couple hundred teabaggers lurking around the Hill and a couple hundred teabaggers warrants intense, wall-to-wall coverage from the traditional media. But, I was there. It was very impressive.
It was very impressive. Very. David Neiwert at Crooks and Liars really drives it home:
Let there be no doubt about this: Once health-care reform is accomplished, immigration reform is going to be the next big issue on the national plate. The huge crowd -- one estimate placed it at 500,000 -- sent a powerful signal that they will not be content to let Congress shuffle off this massive responsibility for yet another year, as we're already hearing that many of them want to do.
There was an impressive array of speakers -- I managed to catch snippets from Jesse Jackson and Geraldo Rivera here, and you can go to America's Voice for a fuller lineup (I spent a lot of time observing some of the nutcases who showed up; I'll have that video tomorrow too). You can see for yourself just how massive it was.
Indeed, this crowd was significantly larger than the much-promoted "9/12 March on Washington" last September, even though that event was endlessly promoted for over a month by Fox News (I know, I know; they like to claim they had 1.2 million people there, but the reality was that it was actually about 70,000).
So, much larger than anything else on the Mall since Obama has been in office, got that? You should check out David's full post and check out the video he put up last night
Washington Post has a good video up that captures the crowd (and gets some of Congressman Luis Gutierrez, who is leading the charge for Comprehensive Immigration Reform in the House.
More Gutierrez here (via The Washington Independent):
Gutierrez, a leading advocate of immigration reform in the House, said, "If America has a problem it can’t solve, it blames immigrants. We’ve been patient long enough. ... I know how you can get heard in the Capitol. You raise your voice. Our day is coming."
Our day is coming. But we need to work to ensure that this becomes a reality.
You may have noticed the ad on the front page of DailyKos from Reform Immigration for America asking you to call your senator now to push Immigration Reform. I encourage you to make that call NOW.
President Obama even made an appearance at the rally (via video message) saying, in part:
"I have always pledged to be your partner as we work to fix our broken immigration system, and that’s a commitment that I reaffirm today," Mr. Obama said.
And we need to hold him to that! Call your Senator now!.
From the same article, Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez (NY) put it in stronger words than the President, and reminded him of the electoral consequences of shunning this emerging demographic:
"Every day without reform is a day when 12 million hard-working immigrants must live in the shadow of fear," said Representative Nydia M. Velázquez, a Democrat from New York who is the chairwoman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
"Don’t forget that in the last presidential election 10 million Hispanics came out to vote," she said. She told the crowd to tell lawmakers "that you will not forget which side of this debate they stood on."
And while there was lots of love for Obama at the rally, there was also frustration from speakers and marchers alike:
In the crowd, frustration with Mr. Obama was strong. Rudy Romero, 19, and Andrea Rentaria, 23, said they boarded buses early Friday in Colorado with 54 other people, and 36 hours later, arrived in Washington. They said they were disappointed with the pace of progress on immigration.
"We’ve been waiting for so long," Mr. Romero said. "I know it takes time, but a promise is a promise. We are demanding it today."
Ms. Rentaria added, "We want to step up and say, ‘Hey, wake up. We’re here. We’re still waiting. We’ve given you time to settle in. When is this going happen?’ "
"I understand you have to take care of health care," Ms. Rentaria said. "As soon as we’re done with that," she said, immigration should be next.
And why does this matter? Because these are the lives people. Of human beings. Human beings forced to make decisions that no person should ever have to make. Families being ripped apart:
Like many in the crowd, 15-year-old Yessenia Saucedo, the U.S.-born child of Mexican immigrants living in Oakland, Calif., had spent weeks selling tamales and candy to raise money for the trip to Washington.
"It was important for me to come because my mother is undocumented, and we're constantly in fear that we're going to get separated," said the girl, who traveled for four days by bus with a group of youth leaders. "It's just very emotional for me to be here."
For more coverage, check out America's Voice blog, a couple videos by Think Progresses Amanda Terkel. Crooks and Liars has also promised more videos thorough out today. AmericaBlog is another great resource for coverage of the immigration fight.