Dispatch from Idaho

By Guest Columnist Jan 30, 2008

contributed by NWFCO Last Monday, on Martin Luther King Day, the Idaho Community Action Network held a rally to kick off the "Welcoming Idaho" campaign in Burley, part of Idaho’s Magic Valley. It was a cold, windy day, but we still brought out 150 people to celebrate and take action. Together we placed signs on the back of two bus benches. They’re the first of many going up in our community, as well as in Boise, the state capital. One sign says, "Immigration is an American EXPERIENCE. Acceptance is an American VALUE." The other says, "I was a stranger and you welcomed me. Matthew 25:35." A former mayor of Rupert, a nearby town, and religious leaders spoke about our real values and about working together to fight for a better future for all of us. It was a good day to think about these messages. This country was founded by leaders who said they believed that everyone had a right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and due process for all. Martin Luther King fought to make sure those promises were kept for all people in America, regardless of race. There are a lot of hateful messages across Idaho about immigrants, especially Latino immigrants. Some people spreading these messages are motivated by racism. Others should know better but don’t think about what they’re saying. It was good to speak out with neighbors against hate and racism and think about a leader who fought and won in the past. There are a lot of good people here in Idaho and across America who feel differently than the anti-immigrant types. We have to take a stand. I was proud of our diverse crowd of Idahoans, including immigrants from Mexico and Central America, and those whose families immigrated from all over in past generations. We’ll continue to fight together to ensure that we live in a Welcoming Idaho. Contributed by Jesus Torres of the Idaho Community Action Network.