WORTHINGTON - On Oct. 5, at venues all across the country, people will gather in support of immigration reform.
Minnesota’s Day of Action for Immigration Reform will be in Minneapolis, and at least 100 local residents have already signed up to participate, traveling via bus to the Twin Cities. Organizers expect that more will join the effort in the next few days.
“We have two buses filled already, and we’re going to order a third bus,” reported Lisa Kremer, a volunteer with Abuelos y Nietos Juntos, a local organization working toward the unification of families divided by the immigration system. “The local voice wants to be heard, or we wouldn’t be able to fill three buses.”
Free transportation from Worthington to Minneapolis is sponsored by the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota and Centro Campesino of Owatonna, which has a mission to “improve the lives of members of the Latino and migrant community in southern Minnesota through community organizing, education and advocacy.” United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1161 is also helping to organize the local effort.
Buses will depart at 7:30 a.m. Oct. 5 from St. Mary’s Church in Worthington and return at about 8 p.m.
The National Day of Action for Immigration Reform will begin with an ecumenical prayer service at the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis. From there, the gathering will march about one mile to the Hennepin County Government Center. Kremer anticipates there will be speakers throughout the day urging the state’s representatives to vote now on immigration reform.
“The purpose behind it is to try to encourage a vote this fall in the House of Representatives,” she said. “The Senate has already passed its version, but the House is dragging its feet, and the fear is that if they don’t move on it now, it will go away again.”
The buses will stop along the way for food and other necessities. Participants are urged to dress appropriately for the weather.
“People can make signs or bring a banner,” said Kremer, “or just bring themselves. Children are welcome if accompanied by a parent.”
Through her involvement with Abuelos y Nietos Juntos, which recently reunited American-born children with their Guatemalan relatives in the Central American country, Kremer has seen firsthand how the current immigration climate has devastated families.
“That’s often what people don’t think about,” she said. “It’s not just here that’s affected. … It’s the families who are torn apart.”
Kremer hopes the voices of local residents whose lives have been affected by immigration come through loud and strong on Oct. 5.
“It just feels good to do something and connect with other people who feel the same way - to actively do something,” she said. “We often feel limited in our impact, but together we can make an impact.”
To reserve a seat on a bus for Oct. 5, contact Kremer, 360-3423; or Dale Moerke at UFCW 1161, (507) 220-1980.
Daily Globe Features Editor Beth Rickers may be reached at 376-7327.