LatinaLista — Though the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor has dominated the buzz in Washington, this week there’s another event that plans on sharing that spotlight.
It’s called the Reform Immigration for America Campaign Summit. It’s a week-long event that spans the country and includes grassroots meetings in cities and towns, along with, a three-day national summit where 700-800 advocates will be gathering in DC to meet and strategize how to proceed in promoting immigration reform.
What is unique about this event, and gives it the teeth that past advocacy efforts lacked, is the fact that for the first time a true collaborative effort is being made among labor, faith, civil rights, business and immigrant rights groups to come up with a common strategy to reach their goal.
Unfortunately, there’s only thing lacking that makes this summit a total success.
The agenda for this week’s Reform Immigration FOR America campaign couldn’t be anymore packed with events than what is planned already:
Monday (June 1) — 40 cities and towns across the country are launching their local initiatives of the new national Reform Immigration FOR America Campaign where community leaders will meet with one another to discuss how to push for immigration reform.
Wednesday (June 3) — A morning press conference at the National Press Club that kicks off the three-day summit.
Thursday (June 4) — A National Town Hall Meeting on Capitol Hill where “advocates will communicate the urgent need for comprehensive solutions to our immigration system to key members of Congress, including Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA), and Immigration Subcommittee Chair Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) who are likely to among those meeting with President Obama during the upcoming White House meeting on immigration reform scheduled for June 8.”
The purpose of the summit is to reenergize and get people not only excited, but on the same page when it comes to creating an effective strategy to counteract the expected pushback from those deadset against granting undocumented immigrants any kind of amnesty or changing current enforcement procedures.
To that end, the summit is essential, but what would really make it an event that showed there was an honest effort in Congress to start a dialogue on this topic was if some Republican congressional representatives would take the initiative and appear at the National Town Hall Meeting alongside their Democratic colleagues.
Grant it, there exists the possibility of emotions running high, but until the two sides meet in a meaningful forum such as this, then this summit is only one-dimensional.
Congressional Republicans shouldn’t have to be made to defend their views in a forum that would obviously differ from their feelings, but they could hear for themselves the firsthand testimony that will be delivered at this Town Hall meeting as to how current immigration policy has impacted not just local communities, but individual families.
It will definitely take brave individuals to walk into this forum but chances are they would have nothing to worry about.
After all, the objective of this campaign is to give voice to the human suffering that has been experienced across the country and to penetrate the walls that surround those people who only see the number of undocumented immigrants apprehended as a statistic to be lauded.
When those walls are breached, only then will there be a greater understanding of why 800 people thought this event important enough to leave their homes, travel across the country and pledge solidarity to fight for 12 million strangers.