Time is Now: NAACP Supports National Rally for Citizenship

On April 10, community, labor and immigrant rights supporters and immigrant families converged on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, urging Congress to pass common sense immigration reform in 2013 that includes a clear and direct path to citizenship for the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants. NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous delivered the keynote address.

Addressing a fiery crowd that seemed determined to outlast the heat and let their voices be heard, Jealous invigorated the activists with his speech. Speaking of the importance of the pledge of allegiance and the end of the poem reading “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”, he stated:

“We say it because we want everyone to understand that in this nation, the greatest of all nations, there are no second-class families. That is our great American conviction. That is our great American destiny, and we will not let anyone push our ship of state off course.”

President Jealous then emphasized the fact that we are a nation of immigrants who had to fight off the tyranny of Great Britain. Then pulled on the history of the civil rights movement being in its 50th anniversary, he said they too rallied and marched on Washington.

“Let us all have the courage of our national convictions and let us chart our course towards the day when America will truly be America and have no second class families!”

Other civil rights organizations and activists Presidents and executives addressed the crowds including: SEIU President Mary Kay Henry, UAW President Bob King, Vice President of the National Education Association Lily Eskelsen, CASA de Maryland Executive Director Gustavo Torres, SEIU 32BJ President Hector Figueroa, DC Mayor Vincent Gray, and more.

The rally was hosted by local organizations CASA de Maryland an SEIU 32BJ and supported by prominent local and national organizations including the Alliance for Citizenship and the Center for Community Change, will close a week of action in which dozens of events were held in communities across the country to urge immediate action to address the nation’s immigration crisis.