I needed to be there. As I browsed through my computer this morning I ran across the Facebook page of La Asamblea de Derechos Civiles. Those that know me, know La Asamblea was an immigrant rights group I was a part of while living in Minneapolis. Founded by Pablo Tapia and Antonia Alvarez two leaders who for years exemplified "undocumented, unafraid" before it's more recent application, brought me into the organization to help develop other leaders for our board.
One of those leaders was Fidel, an immigrant from El Salvador. Fidel was the person who always showed up to our direct actions and ourevents. He would chant alongside us to stop police brutality, to support the dream of immigrant students, to fight for better wages and to stop deportations. He understood the relationship between his experience leaving war torn in El Salvador in the 80s to the poverty this country (and that of my family) still experiences today. He was always dependable for a Si Se Puede, a ride, a conversation but everytime I asked him to come and join the leadership of our organization he would step back and decline. He always hesitated wanting to deflect leadership to others in La Asamblea.
Yet today as I checked out their Facebook page, I noticed Fidel was among the leaders in the delegation from La Asamblea marching in Washington DC. He spent Tuesday meeting with political leaders like Senators Al Franken and Representative Erik Paulson sharing his story and urging them to stand for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States clamoring for reform. And today he's marching alongside thousands knowing the time is now for change.
This fight, to paraphrase Cesar Chavez, is not about immigration reform it's always about the people. That's why I needed to be there. For my family. For La Asamblea. For Fidel. He stepped forward, and so will I.