Hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered in cities large and small across the nation last Saturday at events organized by Families Belong Together to demand the end of family separation and detention, and calling for an end to Trump’s inhumane immigration policy.
Organizers reported crowd counts for the largest events including 35,000 attendees at the anchor outside the White House in Washington, D.C. Chicago organizers reported over 60,000 attendees, while New York’s event drew over 30,000 attendees, San Francisco’s event drew over 30,000 attendees and preliminary estimates coming from L.A.’s event put the crowds at over 55,000 attendees. These events were just a few of the over 787 sites for Families Belong Together protests across the nation and around the world on June 30th.
In Colorado, several organizations hosted rallies across the state. Thousands filled Denver’s Civic Center Park to demand the end of family separation.
“Finally, the community is listening to the serious problem of the separation of families that is destroying our families, leaving a mark in their lives that is never erased and a trauma in children who are being cruelly snatched from the arms of their parents and receiving the most cruel and inhumane treatment as they are put in cages as if they were government pets,” stated Jeanette Vizguerra, a prominent Denver activist for immigrant rights. “Enough is enough, we need a solution.”
“We’re sending a powerful message to the White House: we, the people, won’t stand for it, and we demand dignity and justice for all.”
Anna Galland, MoveOn
Saturday’s event was organized in a remarkably short amount of time, starting with a call to action from Rep. Pramila Jayapal on June 18th, less than two weeks ago.
“It’s been incredible to watch the momentum build in such a short amount of time,” said Jess Morales-Rocketto, Political Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance and Director of the Families Belong Together Coalition. “We have events in over 85% of all congressional districts, in red towns and blues towns.”
“When these groups came together for the first time a few weeks ago we set out to not just galvanize the usual suspects, but to recognize that everyone has a role in fighting for the country that we want,” said Ai-Jen Poo, Executive Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance. “Today’s event is not the culmination, but the start of activating people from all walks of life, in every state to fight for the soul of American values.”
Twelve-year-old, Leah spoke at a Florida rally on Saturday and is also fighting for her undocumented parents and recently visited the border to bring messages to the immigrant children in McAllen, Tx.
“I am here today because our government is not only separating and detaining refugee parents and children at the border who are looking for safety, but also continues to separate US citizen children like me from their parents every day. This is evil. It needs to stop,” said Leah. “I want to be an example to other kids who are going through the same problems as me. I won’t give up fighting for the right to stay with my mom. I am not asking for a favor. It is my right as a child to live in peace with my mother and the rest of my family.”
The American Civil Liberties Union has been a tremendous support across the nation, supporting human right protections and laws.
“The government is betting on us going home and forgetting what is happening to families as they continue to make plans to jail families together,” said Lorella Praeli, Deputy Political Director and Director of Immigration Policy and Campaigns, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). “But the hundreds of thousands of people who came out today and over the course of the past few weeks aren’t going away. We’re going to keep the pressure up until families are reunited, and the Administration puts an end to family detention and other inhumane anti-immigrant policies.”
“President Trump’s family separation policy is reminiscent of the darkest chapters in American history, and has already taken an unconscionable toll on thousands of children who are still locked away from their parents,” said Anna Galland, Executive Director of MoveOn. “But today, we’re sending a powerful message to the White House: we, the people, won’t stand for it, and we demand dignity and justice for all. Hundreds of thousands of people across the country today are coming together to insist that we cannot be a nation that demonizes people simply because of the color of their skin, or where they come from—and we’ll keep the pressure on until we win.”
The massive outpouring of support for reunifying separated immigrant families, stopping family detention and putting a permanent end to the Trump administration policies that caused this humanitarian crisis has spread across the nation and the world.
“The world has seen the horrors committed by the Deportation Force of ICE and CBP, and today’s immense crowds in our nation’s capital and across the country tell this administration that we will not stand for it,” said Cristina Jiménez, Executive Director and co-founder of United We Dream. “We will not allow these agencies to keep children in cages, their parents in jail cells. We will not allow them to continue to profile, target, and hunt tens of thousands of immigrants of color inside our country. Our country is at a critical point. We cannot move forward while ICE and CBP are receiving millions of dollars from Congress to fulfill every xenophobic wishlist of this president and his administration. We must stop family detention and the zero tolerance policy at the border. We must call for the abolishment of the deportation force.”
“The Trump administration likes to pretend to have the moral high ground, calling mothers ‘smugglers for doing what any mother would do — bringing her children to safety. At the same time, this administration detains pregnant immigrant women, stalks victims of crimes in courthouses, tries to rescind asylum for survivors of domestic and sexual violence, and rips children away from their mothers to prevent the ‘wrong type of people’ from coming over to this country. This administration perpetuates violence against women at home and against women asking for refuge, and that is why we march — to demand an end to their abusive policies against women and families,” said Shaunna Thomas, Executive Director of UltraViolet.