This letter was read at the May 1/May Day Rally and March in Pittsburgh in front of the ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) building located on the South Side.
“First off, I’d like to thank all of the organizers and activists who have made this march possible in order to be loud about our fight for the rights of ALL undocumented people, especially against ICE.
I also want to thank the Pittsburgh community and the clergy who have united and supported all immigrants in their prayers but most importantly in their actions
I want to thank my wife, Alma Brigido, and my three children, Shayla, Luz and Alex, for all of their continued support and endless love that they have blessed me with. I want to thank them for fighting so strongly against the agency of ICE and all other agencies that tear families apart. They have fearlessly led this fight for full rights for all undocumented immigrants and we need to recognize that.
For about 10 months they have fought night and day while I was incarcerated in various prisons in PA and Ohio. They have always maintained strong and resilient and it is something I am proud of, more than I can say.
Today, I want to encourage all people of all nationalities and races that we unite in this fight. We are all from Pittsburgh; we all call this place home; we all have love and family connected to this city. We need to start fighting united as if we were all a family.
We are here and we are not going anywhere. Now more than ever. No one should ever be deported and fall victim to our racist system. We are workers and we matter. But most of all, we are people with beating hearts and hungry ambition to see our children rise up in the name of our own dignity and freedom.
After spending 10 months incarcerated, after being separated from my family, after being put in prison and deported unjustly, I, Martin Esquivel, have never lost hope. And that is because of my family.
And I will fight with and for my family, both with my entire Pittsburgh family and my wife and children. I am thirsty for justice because what I have learned is that this system only causes suffering in the lives of people of color, and specifically Latino people.
Our government does not care about whether or not someone “qualifies” for deportation. They break and bend their own laws and protocols in order to keep us apart and divided. And we as a peaceful and strong community must fight for respect for our people.
Thank you for your continued support and attention. May God bless you.
Martin Esquivel Hernandez”