Bakersfield, CA - Lobby Visit/Rally

Bakersfield, California

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 reform.

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!

Bakersfield, CA. Rally for Reform

Written by: Sister Ruth King, SSS

June 15, 2013

Our bus arrived at Yokuts Park in Bakersfield around 3:00 PM. Led by Sr. Simone, we Nuns On The Bus joined the over 150 people from local organizations to deliver a message to Congressman Kevin McCarthy to act on “Comprehensive Immigration Reform Now.”

The rally was started by Fr. Estrada, and with his opening prayer he reminded us that the farmworkers were in the field under the sun (it was very hot that day) working the whole day. Then labor leader Roberto de la Cruz shared his experience of organizing immigrant workers, and Dolores Huerta shared her experience with the United Farm Workers. She journeyed with them for several decades. Although she was over 80 years old, her spirit really inspired me.

Roberto called everyone to gather for the march. Sr. Simone and Dolores Huerta were at the front, and all of us followed to march to Congressman McCarthy’s office building. This march symbolized the journey of the struggle of all farmworkers who provide food for all people in California. They have suffered the unjust immigration policies for generations.

The rally continued in front of Congressman McCarthy’s office. Sr. Simone shared the journey of Nuns On The Bus from the very beginning on May 28 until today -- how she and other Sisters met the people and s