Strong words as the satyagraha begins

18 03 2008

Comments from the opening of the satyagraha this morning before the Department of Labor building at Lafayette Square in New Orleans:

Saket Soni, director, NOWCRJ: “The Indian government celebrates its non-resident Indians, builds airports out of their remittences, but turns its back on them when they expose the ugly reality of immigrant life in the United States. These workers are traveling on foot to Washington to tell the truth that they believe every Indian and every American should hear.”

Sabulal Vijayan, worker and Alliance of Guestworkers organizer: “The father of our nation, Mahatma Gandhi, broke the salt tax of the British government with his satyagraha. We are following in his footsteps with our guest worker satyagraha to get justice in this country. We are in a fight for our rights.”

Paul Konar, worker and Alliance of Guestworkers organizer: “I came here with dreams for my family, that I could do something for my parents. I was caught in this trafficking and couldn’t help them at all. While I was working here, my father died and I couldn’t even go see him because I was bonded to this company. I am marching to Washington because I expect justice.”

Tracie Washington, president of the Louisiana Justice Institute: “We stand supporting these Indian workers in their quest for justice, a quest for justice that we’ve known in the United States and struggled for so many years. We should not in 2007 and 2008 be fighting this same battle for human rights and civil rights anywhere in the United States of America. No person of color–no person in the United States of America–should ever feel they are bonded and indebted to employer such that the have to escape to find freedom. This is not what we stand for as a people in the United States of America.”

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