Last Saturday, in more than 70 events in cities nationwide, immigrants and allies marched and held rallies, vigils, and mass community gatherings to build broad-based support for immigrants and refugees as the nation braces for the beginning of the Trump era.
United We Dream, SEIU, and Center for Community Change/FIRM spearheaded the nationwide effort, along with scores of other unions, community groups, and coalitions. CASA organized the flagship D.C. event. The proceedings offered a powerful example of resistance and strength ahead of this week’s presidential inauguration. Below, we highlight some of the English and Spanish language media coverage of the proceedings. To view photos and videos from all the events, check out #HereToStay on Twitter.
In Huffington Post, Elise Foley captured the proceedings on display in Washington and across the country:
“Undocumented immigrants and their allies gathered across the U.S. on Saturday to tell President-elect Donald Trump they won’t be driven out or silenced when he takes office. In Washington, where Trump will be sworn in as president in six days, people piled out of buses from as far as New York and North Carolina, and crammed into the pews of a historically black church several blocks north of the White House. About 1,900 people made it inside the Metropolitan AME Church, and another 300 marched around the block in the cold drizzle, according to estimates from organizers.
‘Are we going back into the shadows?’ Cristina Jimenez of United We Dream, one of the advocacy groups that organized the event, asked the crowd inside. ‘No!’ they screamed in response.
The event was part of a day of action for immigrants rights that included more than 70 such rallies and meetings nationwide. Some took place outside detention centers, like the one in Broward County, Florida, where undocumented immigrants facing deportation were held inside. Others gathered in restaurants or community centers, where advocates strategized how to protect undocumented communities under Trump. Some were large rallies, like the one in Los Angeles. They all were intended to show resistance to Trump’s promises to expand ‘deportation forces’ aimed at driving out undocumented immigrants, stripping young people of protections, rejecting refugees, banning Muslims from the country, and building a wall on the Mexico border that could impede not just those coming to the U.S. to work, but also those seeking asylum.”
NPR quoted Julio Lopez of Make the Road Connecticut saying,
“One of the things that we want to convey in our communities is that we are strong and we are united. Like, there has been a lot of rhetoric of hate and a lot of fear in our communities, and we think this is a time to come together. This is a time to make sure we show our faces and to make sure that people understand that we’re not going anywhere, that we’re going to fight and we’re going to continue doing what we need to do to get the dignity and respect we need and deserve.”
In a Wall Street Journal story titled, “Immigrant-Rights Rallies Held in 50 U.S. Cities,” Miriam Jordan noted:
“Saturday’s ‘Day of Action’ had kicked off a new phase of activism in defiance of Mr. Trump’s incendiary rhetoric against Mexicans during his campaign and his pledge to crack down on illegal immigration. ‘We are prepared to defend our dreams and our families, whatever comes,’ said Ricardo Zamudio, an organizer at Neighborhood Ministries, a faith-based organization in Phoenix that has joined other groups for a rally in central Phoenix. ‘There is a lot at stake here.’
…Following Mr. Trump’s election, ‘there is a deep sense of fear and worry in immigrant communities,’ said Cristina Jiménez, executive director of United We Dream, a national organization. ‘At the same time, there is no way we will go back to living in the shadows,’ she said.”
Univision summarized the events and reported the rallies’ demands: that President-elect Donald Trump respect immigrants and their families; stop criminalizing the immigrant community; and, finally, end his call for mass deportation.
Noticiero Telemundo highlighted the participation of undocumented immigrants during the rally who reaffirmed their decision to stay in the U.S., even if the new Administration deepens its refusal to accept them as part of the nation.
Agencia EFE quoted Cristina Jiménez, Executive Director and Co-Founder of United We Dream, who MC-ed the D.C. event:
“Together we will protect immigrants and refugees. The politicians should not underestimate the ability of immigrants to overcome obstacles”.
El Universal quoted one of the participants in D.C.:
“We don’t accept the anti-immigrant, racist and anti-workers rhetoric. We want to tell Trump and all his followers that we are the power, we are the people”.
Lynn Tramonte of America’s Voice Education Fund highlighted one of the most powerful momentsduring the Washington rally – Javier Cifuentes speaking about his mother’s courage in migrating from Guatemala so he could live authentically as a gay man without fear of persecution (watch the video of Cifuentes’ speech here).
And Associated Press coverage, titled “Protesters across US decry Trump’s anti-immigrant stance,” summarized the national proceedings and lifted up the words of Ron Taylor, pastor of a Chicago-area Disciples for Christ Church and executive director of the United Congress of Community and Religious Organizations:
“Regardless of what happens in the coming days we know that good will conquer evil and we want to say to each and every one of you, you are not alone.”