More than 500 New Yorkers participated in Make the Road New Yorks (MRNY) Walk for Justice, a walkathon to raise money and promote justice for low-income and Latino immigrant communities in the five boroughs.
The walk on Sunday, September 19 started at the Northern Playground on 93rd Street and Northern Boulevard in Corona at 10:30 a.m. The walkers travelled through Elmhurst and Corona, two of the most diverse immigrant neighborhoods in Queens.
Local elected officials including Congressmember Nydia Velazquez, State Senator Jose Peralta, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, City Councilmembers Daniel Dromm and Julissa Ferreras, State Assembly nominee Francisco Moya and District Leader candidate Bryan Pu-Folkes led warm-up exercises. Walkers were then joined by Latino musicians, stilt walkers and large puppets.
I applaud all participants who walked to demonstrate support for low-income families and immigrants in New York City, said Peralta. Hundreds of people came out to express solidarity with the millions nationwide who are affected everyday by a lack of educational opportunities, inadequate rights for workers and tenants, and discrimination against people of color, LGBT, and immigrants. It was a great day.
MRNY met 85 percent of its goal by raising more than $50,000. The money will support the work of MRNY, the largest participatory immigrant organization in New York City, with more than 7,800 members. MRNY has community centers in the immigrant neighborhoods of Jackson Heights, Bushwick in Brooklyn and Port Richmond in Staten Island. MRNY provides legal services and education programs to immigrants and their families.
Cesar Palomeque, a board member and chair of the immigration and civil rights committee of MRNY, surpassed his goal to raise $500. He was able to raise over $2,000, making him the star walker. He said he collected from as little as $5 to $100 from friends, family and strangers who just wanted to help the cause.
They wanted to donate, said Palomeque, who lives in Sunnyside. They believe in what the organization is doing and they believed in me
It was a very successful day. We were able to wake up the conscious of the community that we need to work together.
The walk finished with a lively Latino Cultural Festival hosted by MRNY at the Queens Museum of Art in Flushing Meadow-Corona Park from to 6 p.m. Once there, members sold homemade hamburgers, hot dogs and drinks to help raise more money.
I proudly attended the event, Dromm said. I am really glad to see Make the Road was able to do this. It was the first time something like this was done.