On Saturday, May 9, U.S. Congressman Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) concluded the first phase of a national effort to document the harm caused to U.S. citizens in the absence of a comprehensive immigration reform, in a rally held at the McCormick Place. Over 2,000 people were present to see “El Gallito” speak.
The rally called on President Barack Obama to act on his campaign promise to carryout immigration reform, recalling his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. In his speech, Obama declared: “Passions fly on immigration, but I don’t know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child.”
Joining Congressman Gutiérrez at the event where many prominent figures including Sen. Roland Burris, U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Rev. Jessie Jackson, Rev. Freddy Santiago, Rev. Lynette Santiago, Rev. Shanahan, Rev. Wilfredo de Jesús, State Rep. Susana Mendoza, Commissioner Roberto Maldonado, Ald. Billy Ocasio, Ald. Manny Flores, Ald. Danny Solis, immigrant rights activists Juan Salgado, Josh Hoyt, Emma Lozano and labor leader Tom Belanoff.
In his passionate and insightful speech, Gutiérrez referenced several times Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous “Letter from the Birmingham Jail,” drawing on important lessons of the Civil Rights struggle for justice. The Congressman concluded with the following appeal: “Though we have only just passed the first 100 days of the Obama administration, it is the 11th hour for our immigrant community, and there is no time to waste.”[/lang_en]