Cyclists to ride to Statue of Liberty in support of immigrants

  • The Statue of Liberty is seen from Battery Park in the Manhattan borough of New York, Jan. 26. AP PHOTO

For the Gazette
Published: 4/10/2019 8:49:45 AM

NORTHAMPTON — A group of local cyclists are ready to pedal from Northampton to the Statue of Liberty in support of immigrants and refugees.

Taking off from the Pioneer Valley Workers Center on Saturday at 9 a.m., the cyclists will make two stops, in Torrington, Connecticut and Yorktown Heights, New York, respectively, on their 170-mile journey. The ride is intended to raise awareness and funds for immigrant rights and asylum seekers on local and national levels.

Katie Joyce, a teacher at the elementary school in Williamsburg, helped organize the Liberty Bike Ride after hearing about the government’s handling of immigrants on the southern border.

“The treatment of asylum seekers at our southern border is devastating, and I wanted to organize an event that would bring more attention to what is happening and raise funds for a local non-profit,” said Joyce.

The group chose the Statue of Liberty as a destination for its history as a symbol of welcome and hope for immigrants.

The landmark has served as “a welcoming symbol of hope that has greeted so many of our parents and grandparents for over a century,” a press release about the bike ride said. “We believe that new arrivals in America should be treated with dignity, kindness, and open hearts.”

The Liberty Bike Ride has raised $10,250 as of this week, surpassing their $10,000 goal. All donations will go to the Pioneer Valley Workers Center, a non-profit in Northampton that supports low wage and immigrant workers in western Massachusetts.

Over 20 people have signed up to take the journey. Cyclists of all abilities are welcome to join, and there will be a vehicle with the group assisting those that need help.

The group will ride approximately 60 miles per day at a relaxed pace, reaching New York City on April 15. Friends of the Liberty Bike Riders will drive to the Statue of Liberty to meet the group and bring them back to Northampton. Cyclists can also take public transportation back home.

According to Joyce, members of the local community, even those not riding, have joined together to support the cause.

“Many of my friends immediately volunteered to help organize the ride by designing T-shirts, offering their space for meetings, and asking for food donations,” Joyce said. “As we talked to more people, it became clear that immigrant rights are a concern in many people's hearts right now.”


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