ATLANTA – Several pro-immigrant organizations will join the march to commemorate Alabama’s Bloody Sunday to ask for a halt to attacks on undocumented foreigners.
The march, which began in Selma and will end on Friday at the state capitol in Montgomery, marks the 47th anniversary of the historic demonstration by African-Americans against discrimination and in favor of the right to vote, a protest that was heavily repressed by the authorities.
This year, however, in addition to demonstrating against laws they feel attack the right to vote, various organizations are also expressing their rejection of Alabama’s HB 56, considered to be one of the harshest anti-immigrant laws in the United States.
“It’s an opportunity to unify both struggles and support our immigrant community in Alabama in the face of law HB 56,” Adelina Nicholls – the director of the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, or GLAHR, which will join other organizations on the march – told Efe.
The march which ended in violence in 1965 helped spur the U.S. Congress to approve the landmark Voting Rights Act.
Pro-immigrant activists have pointed to what they feel are certain similarities between the black civil rights struggles in the 1960s and the one the immigrant community is currently facing.
“For many years, the African-American community has been the target of racial profiling, an object of segregation and exclusion and currently these terms, in large measure, are applied directly to the Latino and immigrant community which in many cases is being excluded from educational processes and being denied the chance to be treated with dignity,” said GLAHR’s Nicholls.
In addition to her group, also participating in the march are the NAACP, the National Council of La Raza, the AFL-CIO and the Service Employees International Union.
At a previous event to commemorate the beginning of the march this week, several African-American activists emphasized the need to defend both the cause of the right to vote and the defense of immigrants’ rights.
“One of the main complaints of the march is about the suppression of the vote among the African-American community which for years has been the object of racial profiling just like other minority groups such as Hispanics,” said the GLAHR representative.
Alabama recently enacted legislation that demands that voters present a photo ID before being allowed to cast a ballot, a measure that activists say will inhibit the vote among minorities and the poor.
The state’s tough immigration law, which took effect Sept. 28, permits police to demand proof of legal status from all people whom they detain. EFE