Farm workers plan long march and rallies May 5 in Bellingham

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMay 1, 2013 

Farm workers throughout Whatcom County have organized an 8-mile march from Guide Meridian in Laurel to downtown Bellingham in support of immigrants, worker rights and immigration reform.

Supporters will gather at Abarrotes La Gloria Mexican market, 5974 Guide Meridian and begin their march at 10 a.m. Sunday, May 5. People are invited to walk the entire way or to join in at various spots where short rallies will be held: noon at Meridian and Prince streets in Bellingham; 1:30 p.m. at the Whatcom County Courthouse at Grand and Lottie streets, or join at the end at 2 p.m. at Maritime Heritage Park.

Maru Mora Villalpando, a well-known advocate for the national Dignity Campaign, will speak at the park in a 2 p.m. program that also features music and poetry.

The March for Dignity is the first in what sponsor Community to Community expects to make an annual event. It is intentionally being held just days after the May Day immigration rallies around the country.

The event also is happening as Congress discusses immigration reform.

"Local farm workers and immigrant families are concerned about the long waiting period for legalization and citizenship; we cannot sit back and wait while the details are being ironed out in D.C." Villalpando said in a news release. "The people who are going to be affected are here and must mobilize and demand that their voices are represented during these debates. Our community and allies are dedicated to a reform with dignity and that is why this march is necessary."

The event also will be in support of creating a local, sustainable and just food system. Organizers will point out that while local berry production is thriving, many of the field workers still live in poverty. They also say they continue to be harassed by police and Border Patrol agents.

For more information about the event, call 360-738-0964 or go online to foodjustice.org.

Reach Debbie Townsend at debbie.townsend@bellinghamherald.com or call 715-2280.

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