DELANO, CA-- Fifteen activists arrived at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Delano Friday night after more than two weeks on the road to raise awareness for immigration reform. Activists have walked 245 miles so far, but for some of the people 17 News talked to said it’s just a first step on a pathway to citizenship.
" We are in a pilgrimage walking from Sacramento to Bakersfield,” said Professor Gonzalo Santos. Because we believe the pathway to citizenship for the 11 million aspiring Americans goes through Bakersfield. Specifically since we have in our district Kevin McCarthy which is the whip of he house."
The activist said their trek is intentionally similar to one that renowned activist Cesar Chavez did 47 years ago.
"We were one of the first marchers that was with Cesar Chavez back in the 60's,” said Ruth Martinez. “The march from Delano to Sacramento. So we are really proud of them and it gives us great joy and an honor to be here. Meeting them like people met us in Sacramento when we got over there."
This walk has not been easy. Even for the younger members.
" I've got plenty of blisters,” said Josth Steenner. “My knees, my hips. I am a young guy so its like weird to be 'oh my hip!"
There are an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. The proposed federal Dream Act allows a pathway to citizenship to those undocumented immigrants who entered the country before the age of 15.
Activists say that leaves out too many of the older generation who have been working in the U.S. for years.
"So we really need to make sure that our parents, the original dreamers as we usually call them, get their chance to also fulfill their dreams and they don't get left behind," said Lorena Lara.
The pilgrimage will come to a conclusion on Monday when a rally for immigration will be held at the Fox Theater in downtown Bakersfield.