May Day, 2006 enjoyed the largest display of Chicago-area lobbying for federal legislation in the last few decades.
An absolute wave of people -- mostly Latino -- took over Jackson Boulevard for more than a mile.
Why did these people gather? To lobby for federal legislation.
Yesterday would make Norman Rockwell proud. Yesterday was more civic and more patriotic than Independence Day.
My favorite symbol of the march was a Latino man with a weary face and a proud smile floating above the rolling wages of people. He was walking on his construction stilts for the three-mile march, clearly a drywaller or similar contractor, wearing his work clothes and a yellow hard hat painted with a red-white-and-blue bald eagle, holding a hand-written sign that read "We trust USA to give us justice for all" -- joining hundreds of thousands of other people who looked like they came straight from their jobs to join together and ask Congress to live up to our nation's highest ideals.
Yesterday was a proud day for Chicago and the country.
We have Representative Sensenbrenner to thank for much of it, because without HR 4437, the punitive bill passed by the House a few months ago that would criminalize the undocumented and those who support them, this movement for justice and a push for a smarter, more progressive immigration policy would never have been born.
The parade was absolutely full of Mexican people and American flags.
I hope that Congress will follow Illinois' lead by implementing pro-immigrant policies that will benefit all of us.