Saturday, June 30, 2018

“What We’re Seeing Here Is a Tipping Point”

Across the U.S. hundreds of thousands joined rallies today
to protest the Trump administration's immigration policies

Earlier today my housemates Tim and Colleen and I joined with around 7,000 others to participate in the Families Belong Together march and rally in downtown Minneapolis.

It was one of 700 demonstrations held today across the country to protest the Trump administration's immigration policies, one of which, until only recently, involved the forced separation of children from their parents who had illegally crossed the U.S.-Mexico border. The nationwide demonstrations were organized before this particular policy was recently reversed. Organizers and those who marched now demand that the federal government reunite the families that were separated.

Today's event in Minneapolis, also known as the Free our Future march and day of action, was organized and/or supported by a number of social justice organizations, including Navigate MN, the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, and the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN).

Writes Ellen Knickmeyer of the Associated Press:

In major cities and tiny towns, hundreds of thousands of marchers gathered Saturday across America, moved by accounts of children separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, in the latest act of mass resistance against President Donald Trump's immigration policies.

Protesters flooded more than 700 marches, from immigrant-friendly cities like New York and Los Angeles to conservative Appalachia and Wyoming. They gathered on the front lawn of a Border Patrol station in McAllen, Texas, near a detention center where migrant children were being held in cages, and on a street corner near Trump's golf resort at Bedminster, New Jersey, where the president is spending the weekend.

Trump has backed away from family separations amid bipartisan and international uproar. His "zero tolerance policy" led officials to take more than 2,000 children from their parents as they tried to enter the country illegally, most of them fleeing violence, persecution or economic collapse in their home countries.

Those marching Saturday demanded the government quickly reunite the families that were already divided.

. . . In Washington, D.C., an estimated 30,000 marchers gathered in Lafayette Park across from the White House in what was expected to be the largest protest of the day, stretching for hours under a searing sun. Firefighters at one point misted the crowd to help people cool off.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of the musical Hamilton, sang a lullaby dedicated to parents unable to sing to their children. Singer-songwriter Alicia Keys read a letter written by a woman whose child had been taken away from her at the border.

"It's upsetting. Families being separated, children in cages," said Emilia Ramos, a cleaner in the district, fighting tears at the rally. "Seeing everyone together for this cause, it's emotional."

Around her, thousands waved signs: "I care," some read, referencing a jacket that first lady Melania Trump wore when traveling to visit child migrants. The back of her jacket said, "I really don't care, do U?" and it became a rallying cry for protesters Saturday.

Reporting on today's march in Minneapolis, Miguel Otárola and Liz Sawyer of the Star Tribune write:

At least 7,000 people marched across downtown Minneapolis in stifling heat Saturday afternoon to protest U.S. immigration policies that they called cruel and unnecessary.

The Families Belong Together protest, part of a nationwide day of demonstrations against the treatment of people along the U.S.-Mexican border, began outside the Minneapolis Convention Center and grew to pack at least six city blocks, with participants chanting in both English and Spanish.

"This is what needs to be happening all over the country," said Ben Ramirez, an activist with Asamblea de Derechos Civiles. "What we're seeing here is a tipping point."

The demonstration, one of hundreds across the country, was organized nearly two weeks ago in response to a Trump administration policy that separated and detained families found illegally crossing the southern border. The policy was later reversed and the federal government now plans to keep families detained together indefinitely while they await decisions on their cases, according to a new court filing.

For the protesters — many dressed in shorts and some carrying umbrellas to protect themselves from the sun — the policy reversal was not enough. They demanded that the government reunite separated families. Chants of "Abolish ICE" (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) rang from a contingent of marchers in the street.

. . . Organizers also used the opportunity to denounce a U.S. Supreme Court decision last week that upheld Trump's travel ban, which affects several mostly Muslim nations.

"We today are on the clock, the people of the nation are on the clock, to reclaim America for all people," said Jaylani Hussein of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), who was among the speakers.

Scores of the demonstrators were educators in town for a National Education Association conference at the convention center. Association President Lily Eskelsen García said the trauma inflicted on children torn from their parents would not soon heal.

"It took a village to separate these children from their families," García said. "We will be the village to save them."

Right: With friends Jackie and Everlyn. I'm wearing my QURA (Queers United for Radical Action) cap.

The (long defunct) QURA was a group I founded back in 2001. Its members (and, truth be told, there were never more that a dozen or so of us) described ourselves as a "network of LGBT activists dedicated to educating ourselves and the wider LGBT community on the threats to democracy, human life, and the environment posed by the nexus of corporate globalization, militarism, and environmental degradation." We also sought to organize and participate in educational and non-violent direct action events in order to facilitate positive and radical social and economic change, and to facilitate and share a uniquely queer spirit of resistance to all forms of oppression. In 2002, one of the events we co-sponsored examined the connections between corporate power, racism, and public policy-making.

For more about QURA, click here.

NEXT: A Prayer for Asylum Seekers
Being Tear-Gassed at the Border

Related Off-site Links:
Border Outrage in the Streets – Ellen Knickmeyer (Associated Press via Star Tribune, July 1, 2018).
Thousands March in Minneapolis to Protest Federal Immigration Policies – Nina Moini (MPR News, June 30, 2018).
Hundreds of Thousands Nationwide Join Rallies to Protest Trump's Immigration Policies – Andrea Castillo and Rosanna Xia (, June 30, 2018).
"Stop Pretending Your Racism Is Patriotism": Best Protest Signs From the Families Belong Together Marches – Bob Brigham (Raw Story via New Civil Rights Movement, June 30, 2018).
Summer of Rage – Rebecca Traister (The Cut, June 29, 2018).
The Violence Central American Migrants Are Fleeing Was Stoked by the U.S. – Cole Kazdin (Vice, June 27, 2018).

UPDATES: Abolishing ICE Isn’t Radical – It’s Rational – Fizz Perkal (Common Dreams, July 4, 2018).
Claims That ICE Agents Were "Just Following Orders" Won't Save Them From Liability for Children's Suffering, Legal Scholars Warn – Julia Conley (Common Dreams, July 11, 2018).
Kharma, Interconnectedness, and the Immigrant Crisis – Marjorie Orellana (Common Dreams, July 12, 2018).
Over 500 Migrant Kids Are Still Separated from Their Parents Weeks After Court Deadline – Sarah Ruiz-Grossman (The Huffington Post, August 23, 2018).
The Continuing Tragedy of the Separated Children – The Editorial Board (The New York Times, August 30, 2018).
In Mountains of Guatemala, Searching for Parents Deported from U.S. Without Their Children – Cindy Carcamo (The Los Angeles Times, August 31, 2018).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Opposing the Trump Administration's Inhumane Treatment of Immigrant Families
Jeremy Scahill on the Historical Context of the Trump Administration's "Pathologically Sick" Anti-Immigrant Agenda
Something to Think About – June 14, 2018
On International Human Rights Day, Saying "No" to Donald Trump and His Fascist Agenda
Quote of the Day – March 12, 2018
2000+ Take to the Streets of Minneapolis to Express Solidarity with Immigrants and Refugees
Trump's America: Normalized White Supremacy and a Rising Tide of Racist Violence

Opening image: Aaron Lavinsky/Star Tribune.
Closing image: Andrea Cecconi via Facebook.
All other images: Michael J. Bayly.


Franco Manni said...

two banners caught my attention above all: "I really do care. Why don't you?", and "Grandmas against fascism". They remind me of my country , Italy.... and of the wise saying of Edmund Burke : "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."

Martin Dohmen said...

You are always at the forefront of protests. I admire that about you.