Immigrant-rights advocates are planning to hold large rallies throughout the Bay Area on Saturday to call for comprehensive federal immigration reform.
Participants will also speak out against new legislation signed by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer last week that, among other measures, allows law enforcement officers to question anyone they suspect may be an illegal immigrant.
Cesar Juarez, director of organizing for the Services, Immigrant Rights and Education Network, said the objective of the rallies is to hold politicians accountable and allow advocates of immigrant rights to be heard.
“We’re saying that the Senate needs to step up and do what the people voted for in 2008,” Juarez said. “Many of the candidates that won were pro-immigrant. People want immigration reform. We’re saying that they need to do their job.”
Juarez said that in San Jose, anywhere from 5,000 to 20,000 people are expected to participate in a march organized by United Voices, a coalition of faith leaders, students, labor unions and nonprofits across Santa Clara County.
In preparation for that event, activists are getting together to make signs and banners at two separate locations in San Jose today. The first gathering was held at noon at Somos Mayfair on South King Road. The second event will be at 5 p.m. at Mi Pueblo Foods, 1775 Story Road.
On Saturday, crowds will gather at noon in the Target parking lot at 1750 Story Road and at Mi Pueblo Food at 1745 Story Road. Activists will begin marching to City Hall at about 3:30 p.m.
The City Hall program will feature speakers and testimony from the Hispanic, African and Asian immigrant communities, as well cultural performances.
Juarez said that because many immigrants are laborers, the march will honor International Workers’ Day, which is celebrated the same day.
A march and rally is also scheduled in San Francisco, where protesters will meet at noon at the 24th Street BART station and march to Civic Center Plaza for a 2 p.m. rally.
“The objective of this rally is to bring consciousness to the people on what happened in Arizona,” said Frank Lara, an organizer with Act Now to Stop War and End Racism. “The coalition demands are amnesty and full rights for all immigrants,” he said.
The Civic Center rally will feature poetry readings and live music. Supervisor David Campos is one of several people scheduled to speak.
In Oakland, activists will gather at 1 p.m. for the annual March for Immigrant Workers Rights and Human Rights at the Fruitvale BART station plaza, organized by Oakland Sin Fronteras. At about 2 p.m., participants will march to the Federal Building at 1301 Clay St.
In the North Bay, rallies are planned including in the parking lot of the Dollar Tree store at 665 Sebastopol Road in Santa Rosa. The gathering, organized by the May 1st Coalition, Sonoma County, will begin at noon, followed by a march to Juilliard Park for a rally and picnic.
The Canal Community Council, composed of immigrants in San Rafael’s Canal area who work in education, social services and financial development, is organizing a march.
The march will start at noon at the picnic area in San Rafael’s Pickleweed Park and will culminate at Albert Park, where there will be a short presentation from community leaders.
Participants are encouraged to wear white.
Thousands of members of Service Employees International Union United Service Workers West, California’s largest union of janitors, security officers and other property service workers, are expected to join the demonstrations in Sacramento and San Francisco.
In Sacramento, a rally will begin at 10:30 a.m. on the west steps of the Capitol in Sacramento.