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Yesterday, we outlined a stirring piece from Univision, “From teenagers to heads of household,” that features some of the young people left to pick up the pieces of their families after the military-style immigration raid at Corso’s Flower and Garden Center last week.
Ohio teenagers are not only taking care of siblings and working extra shifts, but they and their friends are organizing community response. Their leadership was on display yesterday at the Rally for Justice in Immigration, held in Norwalk. At least 200 people crowded around the Suhr Park gazebo to show their support for Corso’s workers and families impacted by the raid.
Natalia Alonso, one of the youth leaders who created the Facebook page “Losninosdecorsos,” is organizing donation drives and ascertaining specific needs from affected families. She spoke at the rally about the need to not only talk about the raid, but take action. She says she is motivated by the youngest children whose parents were taken in the raid, and don’t know what is happening. They think mom or dad is still at work.
Juan Perez didn’t plan to speak at the rally. His mom and dad were both arrested in the raid. His dad was released because he is already in deportation proceedings, but his mom is still in jail. Juan was moved by the crowd and decided to get up on stage to speak, flanked by other teenagers who have missing parents or are helping to lead the raid response.
Juan said he is used to Americans telling him to “go back to his country.” Today, though, he’s seeing Americans standing up for his family. He choked up talking about the person who gave him $41 so that he could call his mom in jail (phone calls cost 21 cents per minute), and was mobbed by both the media and well-wishers when he got off the stage.
The Sandusky Register interviewed other people at the rally, including wives of men arrested in the raid. With young children in tow, they talked about the pain of uncertainty and the financial strain on their families.
Lynn Tramonte, Director of America’s Voice Ohio said: “There are many ways to help the families hurt by the Corso’s raid. Financial donations and other support is vital and being collected in multiple sites. But the act of showing up, of expressing solidarity, is both priceless and free.”