Citizenship for all:
A call from immigrant essential workers
About to cross the Manhattan Bridge, the lead banner reads: WeAreHome
BY TEQUILA MINSKY
A path to citizenship is their demand!
More than one thousand essential
workers and allies rallied on Friday
in Chinatown’s Columbus Park making
their voices heard.
Essential workers kept—and continue to
keep— the city running when the city went
on the pandemic Pause and the majority
of citizenry followed directives to stay put,
work from home, quarantine.
These workers are in health care and
home aid services, food preparation, delis,
delivery, and transportation. They are home
attendants continuing to care for their
charges, bakers, cleaners. Unlike unionized
essential transit and postal workers,
they are frequently without representation,
unseen, and often undocumented.
On Friday, immigrant rights advocates
were bringing their demand for the inclusion
of a pathway to citizenship for 5
million undocumented essential workers,
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
(DACA) benefi ciaries, and Temporary
Protected Status (TPS) recipients in the
next federal infrastructure package.
Banners carried on the streets while
marching through Chinatown read:
Immigrants are essential, Essential not
Deportable, Immigration Reform for 11
“For more than 15 months, millions of
immigrants have served on the front lines
of a global pandemic, all while living under
PHOTOS BY TEQUILA MINSKY
the constant threat of family separation,”
says Murad Awawdeh, Executive Director,
New York Immigration Coalition. “These
actions remind us that our immigrant communities
Marching through Chinatown to make the demands heard.
have always been essential and
cannot wait any longer to breathe free.”
“Last week’s ruling on DACA makes it
crystal clear that Washington can’t keep
playing politics with the lives of immigrant
New Yorkers and the hundreds of thousands
like them across the country.”
From Columbus Park through
Chinatown, the ralliers marched across
the Manhattan Bridge.
Friday’s march and rally were partof
a series of community-led infrastructure
actions in several cities across the country,
including Washington DC, Chicago, and
Last week, the national movement scored
a crucial victory when Senate Democrats
announced that their infrastructure package
would include a pathway to citizenship.
Jose Lopez, Co-Executive Director of
Make the Road New York further comments,
“Our neighbors and loved ones
have been waiting for decades for a path to
citizenship that they deserve. Throughout
the pandemic immigrant essential workers
put their life on the line to keep our communities
More than forty sponsoring organizations
supported the mid-day action.
These affected and allies come from the
Southeast Asian, Arab-American, Chinese,
Latin and Central American, Black, Jewish,
Church, and community-based communities
and also included health and farmers
State Senator Jessica Ramos adds, “It’s
imperative that our federal government
makes comprehensive immigration reform
a priority and keeps a path to citizenship
in this infrastructure package. All of our
essential workers deserve to provide for
their loved ones and take care of their
communities without fear.”
Taxis in solidarity followed as the marchers
braved through the mid-day sun while
crossing the Manhattan Bridge.
Marching through Chinatown.
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