The March for Innovation kicks off today.
The event is designed to raise awareness about immigration reform, said Peter French with Free Flow Research.
He’s organizing the San Antonio event for the March for Innovation virtual town hall meeting in the Silver Fox Studios. He’s been working with Jeremy Robbins, the director of the Partnership for a New American Economy and senior policy advisor to New York City Mayor Bloomberg.
Austin and San Antonio are two of only four cities participating in the virtual event nationwide to put the spotlight on the need for “smart immigration reform,” French said.
Austin is holding its event at uShip which will be live-streamed beginning at 5:30 p.m.
The other cities participating include New York and San Francisco. The event is a city-to-city pass-the-baton media event that includes live Google hangouts, tweet chats, Twitter town hall meetings, email blasts, and other media coverage.
Participants will include Arianna Huffington, Mayor Bloomberg, Steve Case, Mark Cuban and Eva Longoria nationally.
In San Antonio, the list of participants includes Diego Bernal, San Antonio City Councilman, Dennis Ahlburg, president of Trinity University, Nick Longo, director of Geekdom, Jason Seats, director of the TechStars Cloud, Inigo Arzec with GlobalScape, Magaly Chocano, CEO of Sweb Development and Walter Teele, co-founder of Parlevel Systems.The San Antonio event takes place from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm and will be live-streamed nationally from 7:15 to 8 p.m.
In Austin, Burnie Burns with Rooster Teeth will moderate the event featuring Hector Dominguez, Co-Founder of Digital Union & Verdte, Olga Pechnenko, CEO & Founder at Revenue Hire, Samantha Dwinell, Director of Human Resources, Texas Instruments, Luke Kyohere, Founder of Beyonic, and Anurag Kumar, Founder and CEO of iTexico.
The March for Innovation event wants to harness the power of social media to reach as wide an audience as possible. French says the event will be the largest ever virtual march on Washington where business leaders, politicians, civic leaders, and celebrities use social and traditional media to share their support for immigration reform.
“We hope to drive hundreds of thousands of people to the March for Innovation website where they will be able to call on their Senators to pass immigration reform,” he said.
“This isn’t about us versus them partisan politics. It’s about all of us – Republicans and Democrats – seizing the moment and finally fixing our broken immigration system,” Carlos Gutierrez said in an email message. “To make sure Congress hears our voices, we’re going to flood them with tweets, calls, and Facebook messages. And we’ll be holding live, online events throughout the two days.”
People have already changed their Facebook and Twitter profile pictures to support the cause. They are also tweeting under the hashtag #iMarch.
According to Texans for Economic Progress, immigration is a key factor in the ability to retain top talent and create jobs, particularly in tech, and improve the nation’s economy. Immigrant-owned businesses generated more than $775 billion in revenue for the U.S. economy in 2011, according to Bloomberg.
Full disclosure: I, Laura Lorek, believe strongly in the need for immigration reform and I will be participating in and supporting the March for Innovation.