The Iowa immigrant community is under great stress from the Trump Administration’s conflicting and contradictory statements on deportation. It’s not at all clear who is subject to deportation and how deep Homeland Security will reach into the community. Will they just deport those that have committed serious crimes or simply those that are undocumented? The immigrant community needs support from Iowans that recognize and celebrate the contributions that immigrants have made and continue to make to Iowa.
A similar rally, “Day Without Immigrants,” was held in February that drew an estimated 9,000 to the Capitol. The goal of that event was to bring attention to the vital contributions that immigrants make to the Iowa economy. Over 200 Latino businesses in the Des Moines metro closed that day in support of their workers.
It’s predicted that thousands of immigrants and their allies across the country will be marching and striking on May Day for the annual workers’ protest. The national rallies will include immigration, labor, racial justice, gender equality and LGBT groups that have joined for the May Day protests.
Monday’s May 1st Rally in Des Moines is sponsored by Fuerza Unida Iowa (United Force Iowa). It will be held on the West Terrace of the Iowa State Capitol from noon to 3:00 p.m. They ask participants to arrive by 11:00 a.m. prior to the official start.
The Des Moines Rally will feature an impressive list of speakers with intimate knowledge and experience in the immigrant community. There will also be entertainment.
Ameyi Flores, Director of the Fuerza Unida Iowa movement
Polk County Sheriff Bill McCarthy
Rob Barron Des Moines School Board member
Senator Matt McCoy
Vanessa Marquart-Kelly, CCI. (Vanessa was in the news yesterday after Congressman King’s Washington staff cancelled an appointment with her. King later tweeted a nasty comment accusing her of lying. He later withdrew the remark).
The Des Moines Rally organizers’ press release provides a description of their goals.
“The event will first focus in highlighting the contributions of immigrants to our cities, towns, the state and the nation. “
“At the same time the group seeks to raise solutions to face the anti-immigrant and anti-immigrant, anti-minority and anti-women’s rights rhetoric through education, organization and by mobilizing community.”
“This is a peaceful and unifying movement that celebrates an important day in history for many countries around the world, Labor Day so it also calls upon the union movement that was subject of attacks by the conservative Iowa legislature to weaken worker’s protections to join this important rally.”
“The Fuerza Unida Iowa invites the media to listen to our concerns on behalf of thousands of residents in Iowa that still feel the uncertainty of their future in our state but also believe in the welcoming spirit of Iowans.”
“This invitation is also to elevate the best characteristics of all Iowans, especially those who count on us to elevate our voices to support new Iowans and other underrepresented communities.”
This is a statement of support from Brenda Phongsavanh, Chair of the Iowa Democratic Party Latino Caucus.
“Monday’s Day Without Immigrants should be a day that is celebrated by all. It should not be a rally, nor a call to stand up and resist. It should be a day that all United States citizens celebrate contributions from immigrant generations ago and new immigrants. Unfortunately, that is not where we are right now, and instead, immigrants have to prove our worth. I’ll say that again, Immigrants have to prove our worth. That is the most inhumane American value Trump’s America has allowed to surface. May 1st, Latinos and other immigrants will rally together to continue this movement towards dignity and respect to all. Immigrants and allies should attend to support this movement.”
Please support Iowa’s immigrant community by attending the May Day Rally.
by Rick Smith