Reflecting the campaign to repeal Alabama’s horrible anti-immigrant law, HB 56, the annual commemoration march from Selma to Montgomery, AL is for the first time incorporating the issue of immigration. There is a direct connection between the 1960s struggle for civil and human rights, and the struggle for those same rights today. African American leaders have played a leading role in the campaign against HB 56 from the start. In October last year, Scott Douglas, Executive Director of Greater Birmingham Ministries, said that the Alabama anti-immigration law “combines some of the most heinous, vicious, inhumane Jim Crow legislation of the 1950s.”
This past Sunday, Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and Eliseo Medina, the International Secretary-Treasurer of Service Employees International Union discussed the importance of including immigrant rights in this historic march, the fight against Alabama’s HB 56 anti-immigration law, and the struggle for civil and human rights for all on Telemundo’s weekly news show, Enfoque.
Watch the full interview in Spanish here. Below are excerpts from the interview translated from Spanish to English by America’s Voice Education Fund:
Eliseo Medina, International Secretary-Treasurer, Service Employees International Union:
For the first time, the Latino community and African-Americans are uniting to fight, not only against HB 56, but for civil rights; for the right to vote…I believe that this could be the beginning of something tremendous in this country, because it’s estimated that between the Latino and African-American communities, we’re are close to 100 million people living in this country. The impact that we will have and could have, united, will be incredible…a change in the U.S.
Wade Henderson, President and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights:
This is such an importance day, not only for civil rights in Alabama, but for the nation. Today’s march commemorates the historic Selma to Montgomery march for the right to vote for African-Americans. Today’s march has two important aspects: we’re uniting forces against voter suppression, not only in Alabama, but in other parts of the country; and we’re also elevating the discussion for the need of comprehensive immigration reform, which is a human rights issue. HB 56 violates our civil rights and we can’t allow this to happen without our voices being heard through protests. This is uniting our communities, the African-American and Hispanic.