SANTA MONICA – Twelve day laborers began a run across the country Saturday to raise awareness about workers’ contributions and to call for citizenship for undocumented immigrants. About 50 people attended the start of the run near the Santa Monica Pier. Pablo Alvarado, director of the National Day Labor Organizing Network, said the runners would be joined by supporters along the route as they run to New York City. On a route that includes a stop in Washington, D.C., the laborers plan to visit other workers, labor unions, churches, community groups and American Indian reservations to call on the federal government to provide permanent residency and eventually citizenship for immigrants. The run will also send a signal to anti-illegal immigration groups, including the Minuteman Project, that immigrants want to live in harmony with others. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant “We can send a message of peace to them, a message of reconciliation,” Alvarado said. “Nobody can take away our humanity.” Because they often stand out in public areas while looking for work with contractors or homeowners, day laborers have become the public face of immigration, Alvarado said. The laborers are continuing an American Indian tradition of running, he said. “Running is a ceremonial act that indigenous nations used to do and continue to do,” he said. “We’re re-creating that tradition.” Stephen J. Eichler, executive director of the Minuteman Project, said the group had no dispute with day laborers as long as they were in the country legally. “The day laborers that are here illegally are the ones that we have a problem with. They have negated our laws,” he said. “It’s not a matter of can’t we all just get along. It’s a matter of they’re breaking the law.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!