Iowa Freedom Ride Brings Hope and Change

Posted by: Gordon on 8/20/2015
Asamblea Bus Tour kickof

Asamblea de Derechos Civiles kicked off its Iowa Freedom Ride yesterday. Carolina Castillo wrote this post from the bus. 

News coverage Friday

Immigration March (KWWL)

News coverage from Thursday:

Crowd Demands Immigration Reform at Davenport Rally (Quad City Times)

Vigil in Davenport Urges for Immigration Reform (Fox 18)

Dozens in Davenport March for Immigration Reform (KWQC-NBC)

Civil Rights Group Marches for Immigration Reform (Waterloo Courier)

Marchers Call for Immigration Reform in Davenport (WQAD-ABC)

News coverage from Davenport Tuesday and Wednesday
& from Waterloo

Reflections from Day 1, Carolina Castillo

In Postville, Iowa yesterday we found an atmosphere of despair when our bus arrived. As we gathered around Saint Bridget Church, people started coming out of their houses and gave us a welcome.

We headed down to the plant where the inhuman immigration raid happened in 2008, where we gathered for a reflection and remembrance of the historic events that shook that little town. We were met by Regional Director  of LULAC, Mike Reyes  who gave us words of encouragement.  Afterwards we were interviewed by the local newspaper, then proceeded to board the bus to go to our next stop.

In Iowa city a group of leaders from the Center for Workers Justice and Father Rudy Juarez, a Gamaliel board member, was there to receive us. We held a rally with other organizations including labor leaders from the Teamsters and other groups, hearing stories of a broken immigration system and calling for action to change that system.

We ended our day in St. Patrick’s Church, where leaders were awaiting us with a delicious dinner followed by a spiritual reflection and songs in the sanctuary.

Everyone concluded it was a miracle day, because more than one miracle happened. For example, president of Asamblea, Maria Elena Gutierrez, learned her brother was released from prison with a bail bond after several deportations and years of fighting for his release from jail. Even the weather cooperated – each time we got off the bus it stopped raining and every time we got on the bus it would be raining hard again.

The experience of every leader from Asamblea has been a blessing. We are not only changing lives, we are also changing our lives. 

Carolina Castillo is an aspiring law student and recipient of President Obama’s Differed Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).  She was a student leader at Southwest Minnesota State University among immigrant students and students of color.

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