As part of a US faith community campaign for humanitarian change to immigration policy - and in coordination with the annual Ecumenical Advocacy Days - the National Council of Churches USA and its partner aid agency Church World Service are mobilising for a March for America: Change Takes Courage and Faith. It will take place in the afternoon on Sunday 21 March 2010, in Washington DC.
Tens of thousands of people are expected to gather on the West Lawn of the Capitol Building to send a message to President Obama and to Congress: "the time to fix our broken immigration system is now."
"We hope to show the moral urgency of repairing America's broken immigration system" said David Leslie, chair of the NCC/CWS Task Force on Immigration.
"This will be demonstrated in a dramatic display of unity among supporters of comprehensive immigration reform - people of faith, immigrant rights groups, labour groups, and others from all across the United States," Leslie explained, noting that people of faith have been hosting prayer vigils and potluck suppers and meeting with members of Congress in their home districts for months.
"Help us keep this momentum by joining us for this great action in Washington," he added. Leslie is executive director of Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, located in Portland.
Wesley Pattillo, NCCUSA's programme director for Justice and Advocacy, asked the Council's friends to "recruit as many people as you possibly can in your home communities to join us in Washington on Sunday afternoon, March 21. Come make your voice heard in the White House and on Capitol Hill.”
“Let's do all we can to win the enactment of just and humane immigration reform," Pattillo said.
The rally on the Capitol grounds will be one of the highlights of this year's Ecumenical Advocacy Days, a weekend of seminars and addresses centred on the topic of "Migration." Up to 700 participants are expected for Advocacy Days, to be held from 19-22 March at the Doubletree Hotel-Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia.