Reluctant to share his story at first, 22-year-old Giovanny opened up when asked about why he decided to attend the march today.
“These are my people,” he said with a smile. “I belong among them, marching with them. We have to come together for our rights.”
Although he has only been in the country for five years, Giovanny said Alabama is now like a second home. He works in landscaping, saving money little by little.
When asked about why he took the decision to leave Mexico, to leave everything he had ever known in his short life, he gave a simple answer.
“For the dream of a better life.”
That same motivation spreads to even younger generations, but at a cost.
For 17-year-old Beatrice, the reality of being an undocumented immigrant is set to stifle her dreams of further education. Beatrice is completing her last year of high school, graduation is right around the corner, but beyond that, her life remains a mystery. What she is sure of, however, are the implications HB56 has had so far.
“I had a seven-year-old girl ask me, with tears in her eyes, what would happen if her mom got deported, who would take care of her when she came home from school?” Beatrice said. “That has motivated me to continue on this fight and encourage other youth, other people, to please, it’s time to let our voices be heard. Now is not the time to be quiet, now is the time to raise our voices and tell everyone, Alabama does not need HB56.”
Today’s march, part of a weeklong series of events, concluded at St. Jude’s Educational Institute, were speakers reflected on the days events and riled the crowd up for tomorrow’s conclusion. On Friday, March 9, the march will begin at St. Jude and continue on to the Alabama State Capitol before concluding in an evening rally at Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church.
Univision News used this story as part of a photo essay on their website. To view the final product, click here.