On May 1st, over 2,000 people marched and rallied in St. Louis, MO calling for immigrant, human, and civil rights, with the message, “Because we believe, we act for immigration rights.” The National Farm Worker Ministry and other local organizations teamed with the United Methodist Women (UMW) to organize the event. The UMW were in St. Louis for their Quadrennial Assembly.
The march/rally, planned months ago, was especially compelling because of the passage of Arizona’s anti-immigrant law the week before. UMC Bishop Minerva Carcaño, whose area includes Arizona, was the rally’s main speaker. She called the Arizona law “unwise, short sighted and mean spirited.”
The event also included puppetistas enacting the push-pull story of immigrants in the U.S., inter-faith prayers, and the perspectives of several local immigrant and civil rights activists.
NFWM Director Virginia Nesmith gave the closing call to action. Throughout the rally, volunteers collected signatures on postcards to Janet Napolitano, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, requesting swift action to avoid the separation of families, detention and deportation currently allowed in federal immigration law. A Stop Racial Profiling petition was also circulated.
During the UMW Assembly, NFWM staff, Lariza Garzon, Christy Lafferty, Alexandria Jones and Susan Alan presented workshops about farm workers and NFWM. And we had a terrific informational booth, thanks to staffer Colleen Kelly.