From Chicago to Dallas, from Atlanta to Nebraska, from Maine to Los Angeles, and in small towns throughout the land, an outpouring of millions of Latinos and human rights supporters is taking to the streets. Immigrants have reignited this era’s civil rights struggle.
Now is the time to put an end to the vicious cycle of pain and blame, to fulfill the promise of the Statue of Liberty and the fundamental notion that all people have an inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
And, indeed, this country also has a powerful tradition of freedom struggle. From Thomas Paine to Harriet Tubman to Eugene Debs to Susan B. Anthony to Martin Luther King to Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, it is this freedom struggle that has made our country great.
In today’s great movement, many undocumented immigrants have already lost their jobs, have been detained or deported, and separated from their families. But like the African-American freedom fighters of the 1960s, their minds are “stayed on freedom.”
Undocumented Latino and other immigrants have magnificently taken a place in the front ranks of the historic freedom struggle. It is up to us who profess to love freedom to join them in this epic battle, a battle that is for all of us.
As I see it, their rallying cry, “¡Sí, se puede!” (Yes, we can!), is Spanish for “We shall overcome.”
—Rev. Jesse Jackson, May 1, 2006