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When asked if such comments underscore the relevancy and importance of the campaign, Ellie Klerlein, NCLR's Associate Director of National Campaigns, responded, "It absolutely does." He adds, "In fact, we will be putting out an action alert later tonight to our network asking them to send letters to Representative Peck and calling on him to apologize for his inflammatory comments."
"Historically, in the United States, the most recent immigrant group to come to the states often seems to be the scapegoat for many of the current problems happening," Wil-Dog Abers says reflecting on why his band are once again collaborating with NCLR. "We felt it was important to use the Ozomatli name to fight for respect on immigrants' behalf. Many of the members of Ozomatli are first-generation immigrants in this country, and so in many ways, we're fighting for our parents as well."
The day before the official campaign kickoff, the band were in D.C. to spread the word to many Latino leaders from across the country. "We met with a number of community leaders, as well as youth leaders from all over the country who are standing up for immigration rights," Wil-Dog says. "We told them about the Respect campaign and the things they can do in their area to support it and exchange ideas as well."
To date, the campaign has gained the signatures of seven lawmakers, all Democrats, none of whom are from Orange County. The National Council of La Raza is hoping that will soon change. "We expect politicians from both parties to engage in civil discourse," Klerein adds, "and take a solutions-oriented, fact-based approach to evaluating public-policy options for solving our nation's most pressing problems."