August 13, 2011
It is from the numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal or acts to improve the lot of others or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.
-- Robert F. Kennedy
I am pleased to announce that Rabby Syed, President of the United Workers Movement-NMI, will join me and other supporters this Fall in Washington, DC to visit the offices of members of Congress and federal officials concerning granting permanent residency status to the de facto citizens of the CNMI. We will also meet with NGOs and members of the national and international press so that those who are championing immigration reform and concerned American citizens can understand the issue and the plight of the resident foreign workers of the CNMI. We believe that this effort will advance our goals to obtain permanent residency and a direct pathway to citizenship for all of the legal, long-term foreign resident workers of the CNMI.
It is time that we insist that our elected leaders and policymakers separate fleeting political, social and economic interests from those that will remain forever morally right and just. The CNMI's legal, long-term foreign resident workers have sacrificed enough for the CNMI community over the last three decades. They must be removed once and for all from the shackles of the oppressive, disenfranchised status that they have been held in for years and up to three decades. Where people are concerned, decisions should be based on their well-being, compassion, justice and the democratic principles upon which our country was founded, and not on what is perceived to be politically or economically advantageous at the moment.
The future political, economic and social success of the CNMI is dependent upon the foreign residents being recognized as vital members of the workforce and contributing members of the community-at-large. It is time - far past time- that the de facto citizens were treated as equals. It is time that they be given the political, social and economic rights that they have earned and deserve. History has taught us that whenever a segment of society is disenfranchised, treated as an underclass, and held down by political chains, the oppressors who are denying the rights of others will also be held down because the they are holding the other end of the chains. Reform will benefit every person who lives and works in the CNMI, not just the foreign resident workers.
Every person has a choice and role when they witness social injustice. They can contribute to perpetuating the suffering of the voiceless and maintaining the status quo. They can sit and watch the social injustice with the false notion that there is nothing that they can do or the belief that it will not impact them. They can complain about inequalities, but do nothing to change them. Or they can stand up and demand justice for themselves or others. People of conscience must stand up to defend the rights of others, especially when social injustice is inflicted upon those who are disadvantaged by the denial of political, social, or economic rights. I invite you to join us in our pursuit of justice for the legal, long-term, foreign resident workers of the CNMI.
If you have a letter or message you would like Rabby and me to carry to our nation's capitol, you can contact Rabby at anytime or meet him Tuesday evening at the Town Hall meeting to be held at the Pedro P. Tenorio Multi-Purpose Center in Susupe from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. He will be there. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org .