MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Hispanic immigrants in the Mid-South will march through Mississippi presenting workshops on immigrant rights over the next month. Their "Walk Against Fear" started Sunday in Memphis.
Organizers say they want to spotlight legislative bills in the Mid-South that they believe attack civil rights.
"Basically we want to let everybody know that we don't agree with the racism that this country imposes," said organizer Patricio Gonzales. "What makes it very special is that it's literally a grass roots led event."
Gonzales is one of three young Hispanics organizing the Walk Against Fear that started March 11 at the National Civil Rights Museum and will end in Jackson, Mississippi.
Their targets are several legislative bills in Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama that they say perpetrate civil rights violations against immigrants.
"We don't deserve this," Gonzales said. "We've given this country culture, we've given this country people, we've given this country work, and for that we're spit on and humiliated; we're harassed, we're made to feel like nothing. Right now many people are living in fear."
To combat the fear, they've enlisted the help of a man who's seen it before, James Meredith, the first African American student at Ole Miss and a famed civil rights worker.
"I absolutely believe that this, what you're starting here today, has the opportunity to bring real change. Not the kind politicians have been talking about, but real change to the American scene," Meredith said to the group amid cheers.
At the heart of the Walk Against Fear is the concept of fairness.
"My friend, she's got papers but looks very indigenous. In Alabama she would be the one to be stopped because they're legalizing racial profiling," Gonzales stated.
Like all perceived injustices, there are personal roots. Gonzalez hasn't seen his mother for two years; she was forced to leave the country.
"Having to see your mother leave, and you have to wave at her and see her go through the terminal and you don't know when you're going to see her again, I want somebody to tell me how they feel when that happens to them."
The walk is scheduled to end April 7th in Jackson.