A thousand people rallied and marched for immigration reform in Dallas on October 5 while another 150 similar actions took place in 40 states. The "March for Dignity and Respect" in Dallas was sponsored by the local North Texas Immigration Coalition, but they had a powerful national ally in the AFL-CIO, which helped mobilize for all the immigration rallies during the previous weeks.
The context of the Dallas activity added to its strength. The ongoing jobs crisis, a subject of much discussion when talking about immigration, was highlighted by the site of the rally. Reverchon Park, like many of the parks and monuments around Dallas, was a project of the Works Project Administration which provided millions of jobs during that last great American crisis. The legal crisis was underlined because Texas immigration courts, many of them with long backlogs already, had shut down during the previous week like many other federal activities. The local newspaper said that some of the immigrants awaiting their day in court may have to wait an extra year due to reshuffling of schedules!
Speakers at the rally represented the many advocates for immigration reform. A few of them blasted President Obama because of the high numbers of deportations during his administration. All of them demanded congressional action. None of the political leaders were asked to speak, even though at least one State Representative, Roberto Alonzo, was in the crowd. Alonzo has been particularly important to immigrants and other Latinos.
The march was a long one. It went past the Federal Reserve Bank and all the way to the Cathedral of Guadalupe downtown. The event had begun at 2:30. We arrived at the stately cathedral just as the bells began pealing for 5 o'clock mass.