York group advocates for immigrants
A local activist group started just a few months ago is already making an impact.
On Friday, RiseUp York, a group seeking community fairness, took to Central Market for First Friday to spread the word of immigrants' rights.
The group, started shortly after the Women's March in January, consists of nearly 2,000 members. On Friday, about a dozen of those members showed up to make a pro-immigrant statement.
Many of them held signs that read, in Spanish and English, "No matter where you are from, we are glad to have you as our neighbor."
Welcoming city and support: In January, York City Mayor Kim Bracey signed an executive order reaffirming residents that the city is a "welcoming city" toward immigrants. On Friday, the group read that proclamation to the crowd at Central Market. Bracey was supposed to attend and read that proclamation but was not able to.
RiseUp member Maribel Burgos, of York City, read the proclamation again and shared the meaning of a "welcoming city."
She described it as a city where all residents, "regardless of race, culture, national origin, religion and/or sexual orientation, are welcome to thrive, enjoy and partake in all that our wonderful community has to offer."
Carol Stowell, of Paradise Township, another member of RiseUp, said she thinks the state should be welcoming to immigrants, adding that immigrants, both undocumented and documented, provide a valuable resource to the community through their work in businesses and that they give back to the community.
"They come here because they want a better place to live," she said.
Burgos reiterated Stowell's thoughts.
"If you don't welcome them, they won't come," she said of immigrants.
Burgos said she has lived in the York area since the '70s, not many years after the race riots.
"I have felt that it is more welcoming than it felt in the early '70s," she said.
Member Joan Maruskin, of New Freedom, said York City being a "welcoming city" could serve as an example for the rest of the country. She said it shows immigrants that the York community supports them.
"We are grateful for the work that they do," she said.
— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at@YDDornblaser.