STAMFORD, Conn. — Wednesday marks the 50th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech and the March on Washington, and on Tuesday evening many in Stamford participated in a march calling for equality for the 11 million immigrants living in the country.
“The dreamer is not here but his words are prophetic,” Delores Burgess, a member of the Stamford chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said.
Burgess, who participated in the original march at the age of 16, returned to Washington D.C. this past weekend to do so again. She said that the message of equality is the same, but the groups calling for it have changed to include people supporting the rights of children, gays, and immigrants among many more.
“This is a fight where we must all become friends and unite and fight together,” she said, explaining that there should be equal opportunities for housing, education, and pay for all.
Oscar Jurado, a member of Service Employees International Union 32BJ, one of the organizations holding the Stamford event, explained that in King’s speech the part about everyone having equal opportunity is special to him because he feels “the door is closed” to immigrants.
“We are a nation stronger because of our diversity,” Jurado said speaking through union leader Alberto Bernardez, who served as a translator.
Junior Sierra, a student at Brien McMahon High School, told his story of immigration from Honduras and how he used to cry himself to sleep because he did not know English. However he worked hard to learn the language to become one of the fastest readers in his class, and hopes use that determination to fight for immigration reform.
“Your future, your American dream is in your hands,” Sierra said.
The march began at the Stamford Government Center going up Tresser Boulevard to Grove Street before ending at Faith Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church for speeches, prayer and a reading of King’s speech by Jack Bryant, president of the Stamford NAACP. Those joining the march included U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, (D-4th District) and Democratic mayoral candidates State Rep. William Tong, D-147, city Board of Finance member David Martin.