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Screening of 'The Long Ride' set at the Marquis May 21

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Posted on May 11, 2017 |
By Addison Independent



n Screening of The Long Ride LEAD John Lewis.jpg
CONGRESSMAN JOHN LEWIS, a Civil Rights Movement founding father, advocated for immigrant workers’ rights at their rally in Washington, D.C., in 2003. The film “The Long Ride” documents this and other experiences of immigrant worker Freedom Riders in 2003.

MIDDLEBURY — Addison County’s fledgling anti-racism organization, Showing Up for Racial Justice, will be offering another film screening at the Marquis Theater in downtown Middlebury on Sunday, May 21, at 7 pm. The film, “The Long Ride,” tells the story of the historic 2003 Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride that sparked the birth of the new Civil Rights Movement for immigrant workers in the United States.

In 2003, alarmed by increasing workplace abuses, more than 900 immigrants and allies boarded buses in 10 U.S. cities. These buses traveled across America to focus public attention on the plight of immigrant workers and to call for reform of the broken immigration system. They were inspired by the 1961 Civil Rights Movement Freedom Riders who risked their lives fighting to end segregation. The film chronicles the 12-day journey taken by 106 Freedom Riders from Northern California.

Some Freedom Riders risked arrest and deportation merely by participating in the Ride. Nevertheless, they bravely spoke publicly about their immigration experiences and the difficulties they face in their adopted homeland. The Riders confronted the immigration system head-on while demonstrating at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office, and were met by angry, anti-immigrant counter-protesters.

They faced their fears when they learned that their fellow Riders traveling from Los Angeles were detained in Texas by the Border Patrol. The Riders were joined by 1961 Freedom Rider and Civil Rights icon Congressman John Lewis after they delivered their message to Washington lawmakers. The genesis of efforts to enact Comprehensive Immigration Reform occurred as the Freedom Riders advocated for introduction of legislation to: create a pathway to citizenship; reunite families; ensure equal rights in the workplace for all immigrants; and guarantee civil rights for all. The Ride culminated with an immigrant rights rally of 100,000 people in New York — at the time, the largest such event in history.

The Middlebury showing of The Long Ride follows the successful international premieres in Oakland, Chicago, New York, and Austin.

“In the darkest hours of our nation’s history, protest has been used to right wrongs,” says Rigo Valdez, a Rider who is currently director of organizing at the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local 770. “As we fight back against President Trump’s attacks on immigrant and other communities, it is useful to reflect upon earlier efforts of resistance.”

Valerie Lapin Ganley, the film’s producer and director added, “The Long Ride serves as a primer for how to move forward during the Trump Era and forge meaningful solutions to the broken immigration system.”

The 74 minute long film will be followed by a moderated panel discussion, featuring film director Lapin Ganley, as well as representatives from Migrant Justice and the Open Door Clinic. There is a ten dollar suggested donation, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. The proceeds raised will benefit Migrant Justice and the Open Door Clinic. Both of these organizations work to support the well being and human rights of Vermont farmworkers.

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