In the final leg of a three-day pilgrimage in triple-digit heat, participants in the Coalition for Immigrant Rights of Idaho’s Citizenship Walk said they tackled their last nine miles to Downtown Meridian with pride and perseverance.
“It was really interesting to see how we as a people grew over the last three days,” walk organizer Krista Bustamante told the Boise Weekly of the neighborly atmosphere of the last day’s trek.
Since July 1, approximately 140 people, ranging in age from 7 to 80 years old, walked various distances along the 30-mile road from Wilder to Meridian raising awareness for the number of families affected by a lack of immigration reform. Along the way walkers said they celebrated their struggle for citizenship in the presence of family, friends and the community.
“It was also enlightening to see the community come out and support us," said Bustamante. "People left work to walk with us; people who didn’t even know about the walk offered us food and water along the way.”
Supporters from the Idaho Community Action Network and the CIRI gathered on the steps of Meridian City Hall Wednesday afternoon for a prayer service and rally. Only five representatives were granted access (inside City Hall) to the office of Idaho Republican Rep. Raul Labrador. The representatives said they offered three messages in the form of gifts to Labrador's staff.
“The first gifts were handmade butterflies to represent our seeking of a pathway to citizenship. Next was a petition of 1,006 names encouraging Congressman Labrador to vote 'yes' on immigration reform,” Bustamante said. "The final gift was a single painted butterfly decorated with the signatures of every man, woman, and child that took the 30 mile journey."