Written by: Sister Susan Maloney, SNJM
June 15, 2013
We were enthusiastically greeted by over 150 people at Yokuts Park in
Bakersfield, California. A coalition of labor unions, churches and citizens of
Bakersfield met us on a very hot afternoon. Dolores Huerta, labor leader and
civil rights activist, spoke to us about the importance of standing in
solidarity with each other. She co-founded with Cesar Chavez the National
Farmworkers Association and has received numerous awards for her community
service and advocacy for worker’s rights. It was thrilling to be with her.
Paula, a young DREAMer, spoke of her struggle and success in obtaining an
education and graduating from college. She dreams and works for comprehensive
immigration reform. Father Richard Estrada from Los Angeles encouraged us to
keep our faith and belief in God as we work for comprehensive immigration
We marched to the Bakersfield office of U.S. Congressman Kevin McCarthy
where Sister Simone said, “Bakersfield is ground zero for immigration reform.”
Both Sister Simone and Dolores Huerta urged the crowd to contact McCarthy’s
office and tell him to support the proposed immigration legislation. McCarthy has
refused to state whether he supports the immigration bill or not.
Sister Simone reminded us that the proposed bill now under debate in the
Senate would provide a pathway to citizenship for roughly 11 million
undocumented immigrants. This is an opportunity for us to call and tell our
elected officials in the U. S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives we want
a comprehensive immigration bill - now!