OCO youth and adult leaders have just returned from a historic week long voyage with 50+ PICO leaders, all riding a bus to Washington D.C. together, to stand up for immigration reform.  At each stop along the way – San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, Reno, Salt Lake City, Denver, Kansas City, & Columbus – the PICO bus riders have held rallies, press events and vigils to demonstrate the urgent need for reform. At each of these events they shared their own heartbreaking stories of the American Dream crashing down around them, and their hope for a better world, where basic American values such as human rights and family unity will be the priority.

Take OCO leader Vanessa, who has lived in the U.S. since the age of 6. After fifth grade, she was offered a scholarship to a private middle school. She could not accept it. Later, Vanessa was offered other scholarships. She could not accept them.

She is in her junior year of high school in Oakland, California and she thinks about where to go to college. She wonders whether she can go. At times, her life is difficult.

Vanessa was born in Michoacán, México, and she is undocumented. With her companions, she will fight for comprehensive immigration reform that respects families. They will not give up.

Vanessa says, “They are wasting their time not passing comprehensive immigration reform. It has to pass sometime.” To opponents of comprehensive immigration reform, she says simply, “We are all human and immigrants in this world.”

Yessenia Saucedo was one of the OCO leaders speaking out at rallies along the way, and in Washington D.C.  She was even quoted in the Washington Post!

Back in Oakland, St. Anthony, St. Elizabeth and St. Louis Bertrand OCO leaders pulled together 500 community members for a rally on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, to be in solidarity with OCO leaders marching in Washington, D.C. with over 200,000 people.

Vanessa and Yessenia, along with countless other PICO leaders will keep working to build the base of support necessary to reform our nation’s broken immigration system and keep alive the dream that has brought people to our shores for hundreds of years.

For media coverage, click the following links