Tonight’s Get Out the Vote Rally, hosted by the Illinois Coalition for
Immigration and Refugee Rights (ICIRR), seems to provide glimpses of what the future might bring.
The rally—its capacity crowd and palpable passion—strongly
suggests a future in which Barack Obama is president (whew!), and before it even begins, Teamsters Auditorium is packed with
registered immigrant voters and immigrant-voter supporters of all ages and races. Spontaneous, self-started chants of “Yes, we can” and “Si se puede” continuously erupt from all over the auditorium. Signs written in Spanish, Catonese, Arabic, French and Korean (just to name a few) sprout up everywhere, proclaiming the importance of immigrant issues and informing that 25,814 new immigrant voters have been registered in Illinois in the last year alone. Politicians,
including Mayor Daley and Attorney General Lisa Madigan, pack
the stage waiting for their turn to speak.
It’s difficult not to be swept up in the emotion and join the pre-rally pleas for progress. “It is so…so…mind-provoking! I couldn’t have imagined how our voices would unite!” shares middle-schooler and Mosque Foundation Voter-Drive volunteer Hyatt Alara.
Juan Salgado, from the Instituto Del Progeso Latino, takes the stage. “Are you ready to make history?” he asks the crowd. What a silly question. (Meaghan Strickland)