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Radio Hosts Walking Across Alabama to Encourage Dialogue About Anti-Immigrant Law, HB 56

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la jefa alabamaEarlier this week, Rivera Communications and La Jefa Radio — the largest Spanish- language radio station in Alabama – launched a “14 Cities, 14 Days, One Family, One Alabama” walk across Alabama to meet and interview Alabamians from all walks of life, to broadcast live radio shows and hold rallies and events.

According to their press release from yesterday:

José Antonio Castro, Program Director for La Jefa Radio station and radio personality Orlando Rosa will walk along “Route 56” for six hours each day through 14 cities over 14 days to conduct interviews and to broadcast a three hour live program which will be heard by listeners in up to 85 cities throughout Alabama and the U.S, as well as listeners in Mexico, Colombia, and Puerto Rico. 

Says Castro: “I want to encourage dialogue between my Spanish speaking listeners and Alabamans from different backgrounds.  I will bring the views of my listeners to the people I meet and give those Alabamans the chance to speak to upwards of 100,000 listeners throughout our state and around the world.  We need to speak to each other instead of speaking past each other – I hope that our walk and our conversations will help bring Alabamans together.”

The duo began walking on Monday, November 07, 2011 in Athens, AL and they are scheduled to end on Saturday, November 19, 2011 at the state capitol in Montgomery, AL.

Yesterday, José Antonio and Orlando walked from Huntsville to Cullman, AL where they interviewed several Alabamians and broadcast their 3 hour radio program live on their U-Stream channel. Following is their report on their second day of travels:

“It was a good day in Cullman. We had heard rumors that after HB 56 went into effect, local police were harassing members of the community who “looked Hispanic,” says José Antonio Castro.

“When we first arrived, the streets were quiet, no one was in site; we ran into the local police but they didn’t bother us.  During our broadcast we asked people to come out and join us so, after a while people, especially mothers approached us.

Mothers like Elena, who has a 19-year-old undocumented son who was brought to the U.S at the age of 3.  Elena cried during our conversation as she recounted how her son didn’t leave the house for 10 days straight after HB56 was passed, because he feared police would stop him and deport him to a country he doesn’t know. This story really impacted me.  Her son was like a prisoner in his own home.

We also met Jorge, a U.S Citizen of Cuban descent, and a long time resident of the state of Alabama, who complained about police harassment in this city.  According to Jorge, he was stopped by police for a routine traffic stop and when he provided the police officer with his driver’s license, the police officer immediately accused him of carrying a fraudulent ID and questioned his immigration status.  The man ultimately was able to convince the police officer that his ID was real and that he wasn’t an “immigrant from Mexico” but rather a Cuban-American, and was ultimately let go.  

We also met several small business owners who were struggling to keep their restaurant businesses open because more than half of their servers –all legal resident and U.S Citizens, members of mixed status families – had stopped showing up to work because they had to leave the state with the rest of their family.”

Beginning at 7 AM central every morning, Jose Antonio and Orlando are encountering many stories of families documented and undocumented that are suffering. Stay tuned here for more stories from them.

The pair are now on day 3 of their trip, and are traveling from Cullman, AL to Albertville, AL. Below the break is their itinerary for the next two weeks. Here’s how you can join or follow the walk, and watch their interviews:

LIVE RADIO BROADCAST: Weekdays from 2:00 – 5:00 pm and weekends from 1:00 – 4:00 pm central from each destination city.

: 1500 AM WQCR Alabaster, 1450 AM WZGX Bessemer, 620 AM WJHX Lexington – or on the web at www.aquimandalajefa.com
TWITTER: @LaJefaAlabama
FACEBOOK: www.Facebook.com/aquimandalajefa