Congressman John Lewis, one of the original freedom riders, has a powerful piece in today's Post calling for a national mobilization behind the modern freedom riders: "Reward work," they are saying, by enabling the millions of immigrants who are living here, working hard, paying taxes and pursuing the American dream to legalize their status. "Renew our democracy," they urge, by creating a clear and smooth path to citizenship for all immigrants who wish to pledge their allegiance to our flag. "Restore labor protections" to give all workers, regardless of immigration status, the full benefit of labor laws, including the right to form unions. "Reunite families" by streamlining outdated policies that separate immigrants to our country from their families and loved ones far longer than is necessary or right. "Respect the civil rights and civil liberties of all," so that everyone in America, regardless of our place of birth or our immigration status, enjoys equality before the law. Like the Freedom Rides of 1961, Freedom Ride 2003 calls on ordinary people to do extraordinary things: to put their bodies on the line at a moment in American history when immigration is a volatile issue everywhere; to stand up for their rights and the rights of many others; to call attention to bad laws that harm good people; and to challenge the federal government to act where it seems determined not to. You can also read thoughts from several of the riders on the Boston bus here: So for these two days that we've traveled I have looked out and seen such a beautiful view. And I've been thinking about it and thinking how wonderful it is that so many people can come from so far away to Washington, DC, and speak with one voice, and say to the President, you have to make some changes. We need some changes and to me that means a lot, because I say that We the People are the ones that have the power to make some changes. We the People of the United States changed the country many years ago, and we can do this again. This is our obligation. And Saqib Bhatti has a great piece in today's YDN: I am going to be there with them this Saturday because I cannot possibly be anywhere else. As a son of immigrant parents, I know firsthand of the difficulties immigrants in America face -- from social stigma to systemic discrimination. As a Muslim, I feel Aleena's and Asim's pain and know that next time it could be someone I care for very deeply -- perhaps even one of the international students here at Yale who went to Hartford just last week for registration. But most of all, as an American, I know that I value freedom and equality far too highly to sit idly by while my government makes a mockery of them in my name.


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