By Anna Burger
Friday, March 19, 2010
Anna Burger says that the major rally in Washington, D.C., this Sunday for immigration reform gives us a chance to stand up for the needs of immigrant women at the backbone of our economy.
Editor's Note: The following is a commentary. The opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily the views of Women's eNews.
Micheline Charles, a nursing assistant and Florida Healthcare Union member, also understands the disparate and harsh treatment often reserved for immigrant workers and the special challenges women face. During the six years it took to secure a permanent visa for herself and her children, she had to leave her kids in Haiti while she worked at a textile factory. Though she enjoyed working with people from all over the world, she and her coworkers were paid whatever wage the factory felt like giving them.
Still, Charles is lucky compared to Victoria Márquez, a janitor and Service Employees International Union, SEIU, Local USWW organizer in Los Angeles. Márquez has not seen her family in El Salvador for more than 15 years. Despite working tirelessly to put them through high school and college in El Salvador, Márquez has not been able to obtain a visa that allows her to travel back and forth between the United States and her native country.
History makes it very clear when there's a need for change. This weekend, we have an historic opportunity to stand together for comprehensive immigration reform that creates a better America.
It's time to stand up for what's right. This Sunday, March 21, please stand with tens of thousands of us for an immigration reform rally on the National Mall. Stand for Márquez and Charles. Stand for women across the country whose stories are even more tragic--and have yet to be told. Let's unite and tell Congress and the White House that we're not going to stand for these unfair policies any longer.
Anna Burger, one of Women's eNews 21 Leaders for the 21st Century 2006, has been hailed by Fortune Magazine as "the most powerful woman in the labor movement" and named as one of Washingtonian's 100 Most Powerful Women in 2006 and 2009. She is both a top ranking officer at SEIU, the nation's largest and fastest growing union, and the first chair of America's newest labor federation, Change to Win.
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