100 Immigrant Women to walk 100 Miles in Pilgrimage to the Pope
Sep. 14, 2015, Chicago, IL — On September 15th, one hundred women from around the country will set out from the York County Detention Center in Pennsylvania, walking 10 to 15 miles per day, on a one hundred mile pilgrimage concluding in Washington, D.C., where Pope Francis is set to meet with the President and address Congress. Six immigrant women from Chicago, 4 undocumented and 2 citizens, will join the historic march. They are leaving from Pilsen on September 14th, with hopes that the Pope will amplify their call for basic rights and for an end to the inhumane practices of immigrant detention and deportation.
“Right now we are fighting to close down all immigrant detention centers, to end terrorizing raids in our communities, and to stop all deportations,” explains Alejandra Cabrera, one of the pilgrims and a community leader who has lived in Chicago for 20 years. “We want the community, the Pope, Congress, and President Obama to hear our message that we want better treatment for the immigrant community.”
Maria Elena Orozco of Chicago and member of Chicago Community and Workers Rights, will also be among the pilgrims. She is the undocumented mother of three citizen children, the youngest of whom (age 4) will accompany the group. “I want the Pope to listen to our voices and relay our message to President Obama: we all deserve to live with justice and dignity,” she explains. “One hundred miles is a lot, it is a big sacrifice that we are willing to make to accomplish our objective, but if we compare one hundred miles to all of the injustices, the violations, and the hours and hours of work we endure in this country — one hundred miles is nothing!”
These women, along with Jessica de La O, Genoveva Ramirez, Rosi Carrasco, and Reyna Wences, will join at least 95 others from We Belong Together, the #Not1More Campaign, PICO, and other immigrant-led groups. Through this act of faith, the walkers will echo the Pope’s message for migrant dignity and lift up the hardships immigrant women face in the US, including the constant assault of ICE on their communities and families.
The pilgrimage will arrive in DC on September 22nd, the same day the Pope arrives and right before his meeting with the President and Congressional address. These 100 women, with 100 miles and more behind them, will then hold a vigil with their allies and supporters that same day.
Interviews available upon request. More information can be found at http://webelongtogether.org/
Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD) is a Chicago-based, undocumented led, community group organizing against immigration detention and deportation.