On Saturday, January 18th 2014, several YAYA’s joined Central Florida Jobs With Justice for the annual Orlando MLK Parade. This was YAYA’s fourth year participating in the parade in memoriam of Dr. King and the civil rights movement. This march is very important too us, because many people are still fighting for their civil rights, and one such group are immigrants.
Comprehensive immigration reform is necessary for a large number of people in this country to have freedom from discrimination in their work places and civil life and freedom of representation and participation in the state. Because most farm workers are immigrants, and many are undocumented, it is important for YAYA to attend this march and to support the struggle for comprehensive immigration reform in any way we can.
Central Florida JWJ has many member groups, and we marched with many of them like Unite Here local 362 and members of the Our Walmart campaign. Together, we made a presence for the labor movement with chants of, “One, We are the people, two, a little bit louder, three, we want justice for all workers!” We also energized the crowd with chants of, “When civil rights are under attack, what do we do? Stand up fight back!” We handed out candy and information to the folks that wanted them. People seemed to enjoy our presence and the noise we were making, many joined in with our chants, showing their support of our message.
Overall the parade had a great showing, and it was inspiring as always to see so many people lining the streets, celebrating the legacy of one of the greatest civil rights activists. Dr. King spoke often about how racial oppression and economic class are connected. This is why it is important to talk about how immigration, and labor struggles are all part of the continuing fight for civil rights in this country.
Photo courtesy of Cristina Berrios