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More than a hundred people rallied peacefully on the steps of the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery this morning, demanding an end to Alabama’s punitive HB 56 immigration law as nearly 50,000 petitions were handed over to La Jefa Radio host José Antonio Castro.
At the rally, speakers shared their personal experiences with HB 56 and described how the law has affected Alabamian immigrants and their families. Among the speakers were Birmingham City Councilman Johnathan Austin, business owner Javier, and Gerardo Guzmán of Hispanic Business News.
Castro, who has spent the last 14 days walking from city to city in Alabama, listening to the stories of those who have been affected by HB 56, said:
We’re very happy to see the participation of the Birmingham City Council, Hispanic business and religious leaders, as well as members of the community at this rally. We at La Jefapromote peaceful demonstrations and dialogue to find a solution to the problems of the immigrant community. These petitions show that people are paying attention to what is happening here in Alabama and are having these discussions not only here, but all over the country.
Toward the end of the rally, Evelyn Servin, a volunteer from Russelville, presented Castro with almost 50,000 petitions collected from all over the country calling for an end to HB 56. A coalition of national immigrant rights and faith groups spearheaded the petition effort, including Presente.org, Reform Immigration for America, Faith in Public Life, National Council of La Raza, SignOn.org, Voto Latino, and America’s Voice Education Fund. Castro and La Jefa Radio are scheduled to deliver the petitions to Alabama Governor Robert Bentley on Monday.
As Faviana Rodriguez, interim Executive Director of Presente.org, said:
We will continue fighting on behalf of immigrants in Alabama and against any attacks against the Latino community. It’s great to see the Latino community come together to fight injustices like we are seeing in Alabama and across the country.
As we deliver these 50,000 petitions from across the country to Governor Robert Bentley, the message is clear: HB 56 is hurting Alabama. This law must be repealed. Let’s stop separating families in our state. It’s time to give our people back their dignity and respect. It’s time to show that history will not repeat itself in Alabama.