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Vigils and Rallies Say 'No' to HB11

Demand Education Rights for Immigrant Youth
By Kosta Harlan |
February 2, 2011
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Vigil in Raleigh for immigrant rights.
Vigil in Raleigh for immigrant rights. (Fight Back! News/Kosta Harlan)
Vigil in Raleigh for immigrant rights.
Vigil in Raleigh for immigrant rights.

Raleigh, NC - Over 80 people gathered here, Feb. 1, outside the North Carolina General Assembly to voice strong opposition to HB11. Undocumented students are already faced with the burden of paying out-of-state tuition. This bill, proposed by Rep. George Cleveland, would go further in barring undocumented students from having access to any community colleges and universities in the state. Because of North Carolina's new Republican-majority legislature, the bill is likely to pass.

But those who took part in the vigil and organized the rallies across the state are determined to stop the passage of HB11.

Protesters held signs that read, “Don't let HB11 get to debate,” and “We don't want another Arizona!” while several powerful speakers talked about their experiences being undocumented and struggling for their right to education. Rep. Paul Luebke of Durham also spoke and denounced the draft bill as “mean-spirited.”

The vigil in Raleigh was one five actions that took place across North Carolina. Other rallies took place in Asheville, Greenville, Greensboro and Charlotte. The vigils also honored the 51st anniversary of the historic 1960 Greensboro sit-ins, which helped lead the path to de-segregation in the 1960s.

The Raleigh vigil was organized by the Adelante Education Coalition, with the presence of the North Carolina DREAM Team and El Centro Hispano, among other progressive groups.

Mauricio Castro, with the North Carolina Latino Coalition, closed the rally by stating, “We have a lot of work to do, but we shall overcome. History is on our side, and the future is waiting for all of us.”

The vigil ended with chants of “Education not deportation!” and, "What do we want? Education! When do we want it? Now!"

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