Lifting every voice against anti-immigrant hate

June 27, 2018

Jeanine Santa Cruz Hernández and Alexander Wells report from San Diego as thousands came together to show their discontent with Trump’s border nightmare.

AMID WIDESPREAD anger at the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” and family separation policy at the border, a crowd of more than 5,000 descended on the San Diego Civic Center for a protest on June 24.

Organizations, individuals and families from across San Diego spoke with a single voice to proclaim that we won’t be deceived by Trump’s executive order claiming to resolve the crisis—which hasn’t reunited children with their parents while threatening to detain entire families indefinitely.

The Families Belong Together rally began with a speech from Wendy Batterson from Indivisible. “I want people to help me say no to separating families,” Batterson said. “Now we are criminalizing families and using it as an excuse to lock them up and keep them in detention centers as families.”

After Wendy spoke, Pedro Rios from the American Friends Service Committee took the stage and gave a moving speech that drew connections with how the U.S. maintains white supremacy by incarcerating “our Black and Brown brothers.”

Thousands came out in San Diego to protest Trump’s policy
Thousands came out in San Diego to protest Trump’s policy

“Let us be bold and imaginative in how we fight back, with a vision for a world of respect and dignity,” Rios continued. ““I challenge our elected officials who are standing on our side: Divest from corporations and defund agencies that terrorize our communities. ¡Todos juntas, abolish ICE!”

There was a mixture of messages coming from the speakers, with some calls to abolish ICE and other radical demands, while others encouraged the crowd to focus our power on the voting booth or to support “comprehensive immigration reform.” Throughout, however, there was a expression of solidarity, especially pronounced from several refugees, a teacher and a nurse.

ORGANIZERS PLANNED a brief march to the nearby offices of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. The scene was triumphant: parents and children, students and retirees, veteran activists and people at their first protest, all standing shoulder to shoulder and chanting “Abolish ICE!” and “People, people, can’t you see? Eleven million need amnesty!”

Salvador carried a sign that read “I am not a: bad hombre, infestation, vermin, criminal, animal, thug, drug dealer or from a shithole country. I am an IMMIGRANT.” He said he was appalled that families are separated and detained like criminals just for requesting asylum. “Protests give us a voice to speak to politicians who don’t care how unpopular their human rights abuses are,” he said.

Dana Chavarria said he was outraged about the effects of Trump’s immigration policy on families, especially migrant families torn from their lives in the U.S. He hoped that rallies like these will “lift up the voices of everyone who believes American immigration enforcement is designed to sow racist hatred and division.”

Overall, the protest attracted a large number of of people who feel, above all else, that Trump’s attacks must be countered.

Since the upsurge of protests, many organizations and activists in San Diego have taken the initiative to plan other demonstrations this week to show their determination to combat Trump and the malevolent immigration system that is designed to subjugate immigrants as second-class citizens.

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