100 Women to Perform Civil Disobedience for Immigration Reform
BOSTON — Approximately 100 women – including undocumented immigrants and four advocates from Massachusett– will risk arrest on Thursday, September 12th by blockading the intersection outside the House of Representatives to protest the House’s inaction on comprehensive and inclusive immigration reform that treats women and children fairly. Reverend Wendy von Zirpolo, minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Marblehead, along with New Hampshire’s Eva Castillo and Boston’s Cristina Aguilera, two organizers from the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA), will participate in the civil disobedience action, with the on-sitesupport of Fitchburg’s Joana Dos Santos, Executive Director of the Cleghorn Neighborhood Center. They are available for interviews this afternoon and early Thursday morning,They may also be available afterward, depending on when they are released from jail if they get arrested. “This was an easy decision on every level,” said Reverend Wendy von Zirpolo. “As a citizen, my soul weeps at the horrific acts of dehumanization we inflict upon immigrants and citizens of color in the name of patriotism. As a mother, my heart breaks knowing how many of these are children. As a religious leader, I am called to put my faith into action and my body literally in the line that says ‘not one more death or deportation.’ We must achieve compassionate immigration reform. We cannot allow other important issues to distract us or delay that reform. The collective soul of our nation and our people is at stake.” The act of civil disobedience is expected to include the largest number of undocumented immigrant women to date who will willingly submit to arrest. An additional 200 supporters will stand witness for the group and call on the House to match their courage by passing immigration reform. At a 9:30 am press conference, more than 300 women and children will gather in front of the Capitol Building, where national leaders – including Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, ranking minority member on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security; Pramila Jayapal of We Belong Together; Nita Chaudhury of UltraViolet; Bertha Lewis of the Black Institute; Terry O’Neill of NOW; Rocio Inclan of National Education Association; and four undocumented women – will speak out about how women disproportionately bear the burden of the failed system, despite their considerable contributions to the wellbeing of their families, communities and the country. After the press conference, before the act of civil disobedience begins, participants will take the Oath for a House United. Following the rally, at 10 am, 100 women from across the country, including the four from Massachusetts, will join together in a circle to claim the intersection outside the House of Representatives, calling for the House to similarly unite and pass immigration reform that keeps families together and values women. After the act of civil disobedience, at 12:00 pm, children will deliver “red hearts of courage” to House leadership and key swing representatives to embolden them to take action for comprehensive immigration reform. About We Belong Together We Belong Together is a national campaign to bring forward the priorities of women in immigration reform, and to mobilize women to push for immigration reform that: includes a clear path to citizenship; keeps families together and upholds the family immigration system; protects survivors of violence; prevents workplace abuses; promotes the health and wellbeing of women and children; honors women’s work inside and outside of the home; and is not driven by enforcement. We Belong Together is co-anchored by the National Domestic Workers Alliance and the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, with the participation of women’s organizations, immigrant rights groups, children, and families across the country.