Dream Riders journey for justice

Protest on the steps of the Alabama Capitol building by Dream Riders, Alabama NAACP and Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice.Photo: Dream Riders Across America

Protest on the steps of the Alabama Capitol building by Dream Riders, Alabama NAACP and Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice.
Photo: Dream Riders Across America

A multinational group of young people, Dream Riders Across America, marched and rallied on Aug. 3 in Montgomery, Ala., as part of their journey to fight for immigrant rights and oppose racism. On the state Capitol steps, the Dreamers joined with the Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice and the Alabama NAACP to affirm their dedication to “a unified progressive network of young people, immigrants, and communities of color.” (Dream Riders Across America, Aug. 4)

The Dreamers, most of them now or previously undocumented, are Latino/a, Asian and African American. They come from Thailand, Pakistan, Vietnam, Korea, Mexico, the U.S. and other countries.

Traveling by bus from July 27 to Aug. 7, the Dreamers spoke at cities throughout the immigrant rights “battleground states” of the U.S. South — from Washington, D.C., and Virginia to North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana and Texas. The ride was sponsored by the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium, the Service Employees Union and affiliated groups.

Alease Wilson, a Dream Rider from Los Angeles, was adamant that racism directed at undocumented immigrants is inextricably linked to the racism aimed at all people of color. She said, “I’m joining the bus tour because I don’t want my brother to be the next Michael Brown.” Brown was the African-American teenager whose killing by Ferguson, Mo., police led to uprisings around the country against racist violence by state and city police. (dreamriders.us/press, July 30)

The Alabama NAACP participation with the Dreamers was part of a national NAACP Journey for Justice, an 860-mile march from Selma, Ala., to Washington, D.C., to focus attention and mobilize action to fight for “a fair criminal justice system, uncorrupted and unfettered access to the ballot box, sustainable jobs with a living wage, and equitable public education.” (NAACP.org/ajfj)

The Journey for Justice began Aug. 1 on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act. The act was won by the African-American Civil Rights Movement through many bloody and sacrificial struggles, such as the brutal assault on marchers in 1965 on the Pettus Bridge.

The Voting Rights Act and access to the ballot by people of color and low-income and working-class people is now under heavy attack by right-wing forces. The marchers plan to arrive in Washington on Sept. 11 after 40 days and nights of “old-school marching” with town rallies and conversations along the way.