S.F. vigil for immigrant rights

February 3, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO--On January 21, the day after Barack Obama's inauguration, the San Francisco Immigrant Rights Defense Committee organized a procession and vigil in front of City Hall to bid farewell to George W. Bush, and to demand justice from the new Obama administration and Mayor Gavin Newsom.

Some 150 people, including immigrant rights advocates, labor groups, faith leaders and LGBT activists, turned out. Although it was a vigil, the mood was upbeat, with speakers sending the message that activists need to keep up the pressure on politicians, including Obama, and continue to fight for the justice that immigrants deserve.

Protesters called on the Obama administration to put a stop to raids. Activists also marched into City Hall to deliver an invitation to a town hall meeting with a list of demands to the mayor and city supervisors. A key demand included restoring San Francisco as a sanctuary city.

After raids at the El Balazo Taqueria in May 2008, San Francisco's sanctuary status has been shattered. Newsom made this worse with his continued support for raids under the guise of deporting supposed adolescent gang members.

On Obama's first day in office, immigrant rights activists in several cities organized protests to say that they will not wait for change, but will demand and fight for it locally and nationally.

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