This weekend, for the 28th year, Raleigh will celebrate the diversity of its population during International Festival.  I love this event. It’s at the convention center with the shimmer wall, and the hundred-plus booths showcase the cultures of different countries and regions that call the Triangle “home.” There’s food, dance and a whole lot of other activities, including cooking demonstrations.
A naturalization ceremony kicks off the event, inviting more people into the fold of the American experiment of a representative democracy. This will happen despite a government shutdown.
It also happens at a time when immigrants, as well as their supporters in our communities, are clamoring for an overhaul to our broken immigration rules. This week, despite government gridlock, House Democrats worked to refocus attention on moving the country forward by introducing a comprehensive immigration bill. 
This weekend, people will also be raising their voices around the country, participating in events commemorating the National Day of Immigrant Dignity and Respect. About 15 event s throughout North Carolina alone are planned.
The Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project at the N.C. Justice Center will be collecting signatures at International Festival telling our Congressional representatives that we want fair and inclusive immigration reform that focuses on legislation that creates a roadmap to citizenship and reunites families, and to oppose bills that penalize immigrant families and diminish public safety.