Obama in Ann Arbor

Obama in Ann Arbor

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The marchers in support of immigration reform were easy to spot, dressed in white shirts and carrying American flags. The procession of about 1000 marchers stretched out over a mile, from South Industrial Blvd., snaking up the hill and across the bridge, over to the University of Michigan Stadium, where inside, President Barack Obama was to address the graduating class of 2010.

immigration reform ann arbor

At least fifteen busses were lined up around Frizinger Park, where an immigration reform rally was held in the morning. According to The Campaign to Reform Immigration for America, a national coalition of individuals and grassroots organizations to build support for workable comprehensive immigration reform, these buses came filled with supporters from Detroit, Pontiac, Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Lansing, East Lansing, Westland, Ypsilanti, and New Haven, to join the hundreds of Ann Arbor attendees. The Campaign to Reform Immigration for America also notes that after labor and faith leaders spoke, the "Avenue of Dreams" youth who walked from Detroit to Ann Arbor to publicize the DREAM Act were celebrated and given a DREAM Act graduation ceremony to honor those who cannot attend college due to immigration status.

immigration reform ann arbor

Hundreds of marches were held across the country Saturday, but because of Obama's presence at the University of Michigan commencement, the Ann Arbor march took on additional significance. Chanting at times “Si se puede! Yes we can!” and “Hey Obama, don’t deport my mama!” the mood was light, festive, and fun as people of all generations and races walked together in what was planned as a positive and peaceful rally in support of immigration reform and the bipartisan DREAM Act to give undocumented students who have grown up in America a chance to go to college and a path to citizenship. These issues suddenly feel all the more pressing after the recent passage of Arizona’s controversial new immigration enforcement law SB1070, which dangerously opens the door to racial profiling and discrimination against all people of color, and which several states (including neighbor Ohio) are poised to copy.

immigration reform ann arbor

Frances Kai-Hwa Wang is a second-generation Chinese American from California who now divides her time between Ann Arbor and the Big Island of Hawaii. She is editor of IMDiversity.com Asian American Village, lead multicultural contributor for AnnArbor.com, and a contributor for New America Media's Ethnoblog. She is a popular speaker on Asian Pacific American and multicultural issues. Check out her website at franceskaihwawang.com, her blog at franceskaihwawang.blogspot.com, and she can be reached at fkwang888@gmail.com.

immigration reform ann arbor