My friend Rory (in the picture below with his daughter) called Terry Feingold on Friday to offer us an opportunity to march in Chicago's downtown St. Patrick's Day parade. Fresh off spectating at last week's Southside Irish Parade, we were pretty excited by the prospect of seeing things from the marchers' perspective.
When we arrived in the staging area, I was doubly excited to find out we'd be walking alongside the float of the Chicago Celts for Immigration Reform (CCIR). I marched in the downtown demonstration for Immigrants' Rights last May (click here to see one of the YouTube clips I took that day), and remember seeing their group among the many nationalities that filled the streets of Chicago.
Despite many Americans' miconception, the immigration debate affects much more than the Latino community. Chicago, international city that it is, is home to immigrants from all corners of the Globe. We in Rogers Park are well aware of this, as we live and work with immigrants from Europe, Asia, and Africa as well as Central and South America.
To further illustrate the cross-cultural nature of the issue, members of the Korean American Resource & Cultural Center (KRCC) joined CCIR at the parade. Their contingent included a percussion and dance ensemble that was a big crowd favorite. They connected with CCIR during last year's immigrants' rights demonstrations.
According to CCIR's website, there are 40,000 undocumented Irish in the United States. The contributions they and other hard-working immigrants have made to our economic and cultural life are numerous, and our society should offer them the easiest possible path toward full citizenship.
Here are some links to more information on CCIR, KRCC, and the fight for immigrants' rights:
- Chicago Celts for Immigration Reform (CCIR)
- Korean American Resource & Cultural Center (KRCC)
- Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR)
- Chicago campaign heats up, By Blathnaid Healy, from Irish Echo Online, March 14-20, 2007 issue
- Chicago immigration activists ready Washington push, by Antonio Olivo, Chicago Tribune, March 5, 2007
- Irish could play role in fight for immigrants' rights, By Mark Brown, Chicago Sun Times, March 9, 2006