National Day of Actions Sparks Vigils, Marches, Rallies

The goal of the day is immigration reform.

By Sasha Lekach
|  Wednesday, Apr 10, 2013  |  Updated 5:54 PM PDT
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As part of a

As part of a "National Day of Action" for immigration reform, immigrant communities and their supporters are holding marches, rallies and vigils throughout the Bay Area today. Kimberly Tere reports.

As part of a "National Day of Action" for immigration reform, immigrant communities and their supporters are holding marches, rallies and vigils throughout the Bay Area today.

A coalition of community, labor and advocacy groups will take to the streets of San Francisco starting at 3 p.m., organizer Jon Rodney said. A march will begin outside the San Francisco office of Sen. Dianne Feinstein at 1 Post St. and will make a stop at the Four Seasons Hotel at 757 Market St., where marchers will briefly rally for workers' rights, Rodney said.

They will then continue to the Federal Building at 450 Golden Gate Ave., where there will be a 5 p.m. demonstration. A handmade paper chain consisting of 1,000 paper flowers will be carried to an makeshift altar in front of the building to represent the approximately 1,000 deportations that occur in the U.S. every day, Rodney said.

Similar demonstrations are planned in Washington, D.C., and across the nation today to urge lawmakers to push through a comprehensive immigration reform package. Rodney said reforms should include a better path to citizenship, protections for immigrant workers and changes to avoid having families split apart by deportations, among other measures.

"We want (lawmakers) to create that immigration process that this country has never had," Rodney said.

A representative from House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi's office will speak at the Federal Building rally.

A bipartisan group of Senators is expected to release a comprehensive immigration reform proposal later this week, according to news reports. "There's incredible momentum for immigrant rights," Rodney said.

Immigrant advocacy group Services, Immigrant Rights and Education Network, or SIREN, is holding several events in Santa Clara County today. A breakfast was held this morning at San Jose's Our Lady of Guadalupe Church with faith leaders calling for immigration policy changes. A noon rally will be held at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library at 150 E. San Fernando St. in San Jose, with immigrant youths supporting laws that would make citizenship more accessible.

A 4:30 p.m. vigil will be held at the Sacred Heart Community Service center at 1381 S. First St. in San Jose, where immigrant families will share their stories and urge lawmakers to support keeping families together instead of deporting relatives, organizers said. In other parts of the Bay Area, immigration reform proponents will be holding a 6 p.m. vigil at the University Avenue pedestrian overcrossing above Interstate Highway 80 in Berkeley.

That event will feature groups, local elected and faith leaders, merchants, students, residents and others who will light candles in support of creating a "bridge" to citizenship. University of California at Berkeley students will discuss the federal Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, or DREAM Act, and fourth-graders from Oakland who have had classmates affected by deportation will speak, Salazar said.

California's version of the DREAM Act became law in 2011, allowing undocumented students access to financial aid for higher education. A noon rally will be held in Santa Cruz at the corner of Ocean and Water streets, organized by the Democratic group Organizing For Action.

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