Over 70 immigrants and their supporters including the Democrat candidate for Mayor, Adrian Mapp, and Assemblyman Jerry Green, gathered together at the Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church located on Watchung Avenue in Plainfield in order to commemorate Labor Day while simultaneously demanding that a pathway to citizenship be provided to the 11 million undocumented immigrants that already live in the United States.
32BJ SEIU organized the gathering, which consisted primarily of workers from the Bound Brook and Plainfield areas. Men, women and children wore purple wrist bands and waved signs to show that they support immigration reform, with a group of Spanish speaking immigrants being led by a woman called Gladys in a chant of “Reforma! Aloha!,” which means “Reform! Now!”
The Union’s Communications Director, Eugenio Villesante, says that there are up to 90,000 workers in New Jersey, as well as another 145,000 on the East Coast from Boston all the way to Florida, making 32BJ the biggest property services union in the whole of the United States. “These are also workers who need, urgently, immigration reform… and want to be able to contribute more fully.”
Vanessa, a young mother at the gathering, told TheAlternativePress.com that the rally was personally significant to her as it represented stability and security for her family. She also expressed concern for her husband, who is himself an undocumented immigrant, and for one of her two children. “Reforming our broken immigration system is part and parcel to creating an economy that works for all of us,” said 32BJ’s state director, Kevin Brown.