Groups protest differently in Fort Wayne - April 27, 2006

Record Number: 2410
Displayed from: Apr 27, 2006 , until: May 02, 2006

Fort Wayne Community Schools' officials joined members of The Hispanic Leadership Coalition of Northeast Indiana (HLCNI) and the United Hispanic-Americans, Inc. today to urge local families not to boycott school on Monday - a national move to protest proposed immigration reforms that Congress is considering. Instead, community leaders here have planned a peaceful, patriotic event where immigrants and members of the community can join together to reflect on issues facing those who are new to this country and to call for more humane immigration reform. The "Gathering of Reflection" will be held at 5 p.m. on Monday, May 1, at Foellinger Outdoor Theatre in Franke Park, adjacent to the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo. It is organized by the HLCNI. Participants are asked to come dressed in white and carrying candles to be lit at a vigil during the event. "We believe that May 1 should be a day of reflection. We do not believe anyone should jeopardize his/her job by not going to work; unless they have their employer's permission," said Dr. Max Montesino, president of HLCNI. "We ask that all immigrant families send their children to school on May 1 and bring them to this peaceful gathering after school." Montesino also urged people not to pay attention to the rumors that have been circulating within the Hispanic community in Northeast Indiana: "No authority will bother us at the Gathering. People should feel free to come and participate; the same way they did in our peaceful rally of April 2," he said. Rosa Gerra, executive director of the United Hispanic-Americans, Inc. said the gathering Monday evening will give families an opportunity to come together and let their voices be heard peacefully. "We will be taking a look at issues facing our immigrant families and how solid immigration reform not punitive reform can benefit the country as a well," Gerra said. "In addition, we will be thanking the northeast Indiana community at large for its support for immigrant's rights." Dr. Doug Coutts, chief operations officer for FWCS, said it is very important that parents make sure their children are in school Monday and every school day. "Instructional time is very precious, even missing one day puts children behind," he said. "We hope parents will attend the Coalition's gathering and use it as a way to teach their children that responsible public demonstration is very powerful and effective discourse but going to school every day is just as important."

With nearly 30,000 students, Fort Wayne Community Schools is one of the largest school districts in Indiana. FWCS proudly allows families to choose any of its 50 schools through its successful school-choice program creating diversity in each school, including some with more than 75 languages spoken. FWCS offers seven magnet schools focusing on areas such as science and math, communication, fine arts or Montessori at the elementary and middle school level. In high school, students can choose from the prestigious International Baccalaureate program, Project Lead the Way or New Tech Academy as well as other rigorous academic and specialty training programs.