A march and rally to back area immigrants has been scheduled for this Sunday in Mount Kisco after there has been a grassroots effort among local residents, houses of worship and various organizations to support them.
Participants in the Mt. Kisco March & Rally in Support of Our Immigrant Neighbors will gather in the parking lot behind the Bow-Tie Cinemas movie theater on East Main Street at 2:30 p.m., march through the village’s downtown and finish with a rally in the courtyard between village hall and the library.
Immigrants have been invited to speak during the program to share their stories and call attention to the contributions they make to their communities, said Carola Bracco, executive director of the Mount Kisco-based Neighbors Link, one of the organizations supporting and participating in the event.
Bracco said the idea to publicly support immigrants was started by a group of about 50 to 60 people in the area. Some are affiliated with area churches and synagogues in and around the village as President Donald Trump’s controversial stance on immigration policies has ignited increasingly heated debate.
“A large number of community members that had been reaching out to us along with many houses of worship have been reaching out to us over the last few months about getting more involved and also sending a signal to the immigrant community that the whole community is supportive of all their contributions to our economy, to our culture and to our community,” Bracco said.
Rabbi Aaron Brusso of Bet Torah, a Mount Kisco synagogue, said in his discussions with area clergy many of them and their congregants have become increasingly concerned about the tone and substance of the discussion surrounding immigrants.
“We are at an uncertain time regarding immigration and we are determined to play a part in reshaping that discussion,” Brusso said. “We want to be focused on human beings and treating them with respect and dignity.”
Mount Kisco is one of the communities in Westchester with a heavy immigrant population. It is estimated that nearly 40 percent of the village’s residents were born outside the United States. A 2014 Migration Policy Institute study concluded there were about 61,000 undocumented immigrants in Westchester.
While much of the impetus behind Sunday’s rally originated from local residents and congregations, Bracco said as more people learn about Sunday’s rally, interest has also been coming from throughout the county.
“There’s been a lot of interest, a lot of phone calls from people inquiring about it and very excited to participate,” she said.
It also has come at a time when fear among the immigrant population has been on the upswing, Bracco said. Since the start of the year, Neighbors Link has needed to step up key services to assist their clients, she said. Two immigration attorneys have been retained through Pace Law School Community Practice Program to be able to advise local families.
There has also been an increase in participation for many of Neighbors Links’ other programs such as English classes and Know Your Rights sessions.
Other participating local organizations and religious institutions for Sunday’s rally include Bedford Presbyterian Church; Boys & Girls Club of Northern Westchester; Temple Shaaray Tefila; Mount Kisco Child Care Center; Fountain of Eternal Life Church; Methodist Church of Mount Kisco; Mount Kisco Presbyterian Church; St. Francis Church; Antioch Baptist Church; Northern Westchester Hospital/Northwell Health; Curtis Instruments; Katonah Presbyterian Church; and the Upper Westchester Muslim Society.
Sunday’s event will be held rain or shine. For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Mt-Kisco-March-Rally-in-Support-of-our-Immigrant-Neighbors-796007683908438/.