Protesters denounce Trump admin. family separation policy
Hundreds gather on the Common as part of a nation-wide push to end child detentions
Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in front of the State House last Thursday to protest the separation of children from their parents at the United States-Mexico Border.
The demonstration was one of more than 60 held in cities across the U.S. June 12 in response to the growing number of children that are being separated from their parents in detention centers along the border.
While Trump administration officials have sought to blame Democrats for the policy of detaining children and have called for Democrats to negotiate on the construction of a border wall, the administration itself instituted the “zero tolerance” policy of pursuing criminal prosecution of people who cross the U.S. border illegally. Under past Democratic and Republican administrations, families crossing the border illegally were placed in immigrant detention centers, then released on bond.
Echoes of the past
At the Boston rally, At-large City Councilor Ayanna Pressley pointed out what she said is a pattern of discrimination that has played out through U.S. history.
“This is not a new story,” she said. “We have a long legacy of children of color being ripped from their parents. At the auction block, at Native American reservations, because of the war on drugs, and now because of what’s happening at our borders.”
Pressley urged local lawmakers to take action to protect immigrants, cited passing the Safe Communities Act, which would bar local law enforcement from enforcing immigration law, ensuring Temporary Protective Status recipients can receive driver’s licenses, and ending racial profiling against immigrants and people of color.
Barbara L’Italien, a state Senator and another congressional candidate, also spoke and echoed many of Pressley’s ideas. She added, “We need to deal with people in a human-centered way. We have lost our moral compass.” Her sentiments spoke to the immorality that many speakers expressed was at the heart of these policies.
Many directed their anger at the inaction they felt from the governor’s office and from the State House at large. “Charlie Baker, we need courage!” one man shouted when he took the megaphone. “We need someone to stand with the families of everybody who’s in this country, everybody in Massachusetts! We need leadership, Charlie Baker! Where are you? Where are you, Charlie Baker? Keep families together!”
The rally organizer, Emily Ross, left the megaphone open so that anyone could speak who wanted to. A Boston resident and parent moved by stories of parents being separated from their children at the border, Ross organized the rally when she learned of the national day of action and realized there was no rally scheduled for Boston.
“It came up that this was happening and there was no one organizing in Boston, and I was like, we cannot have no representation in Boston, and I’m just going to do it,” she said.
Many joined her at the megaphone and shared stories of their personal experiences with policies that separated their families, either here in the United States, during the Holocaust or elsewhere.
The general sentiment at the rally was well summed up by Ross, who said, “It’s up to us to save the world. We can’t just sit at home and wait for someone else to do it.”