For Immediate Release: June 30, 2018
UPDATED: Hundreds of Thousands Rally and March at Families Belong Together Protests
Across the Nation and Around the Globe Today
Organizers Estimate 35,000 Attendees at Protests in D.C.; Over 60,000 Attendees in Chicago; Over 30,000 Attendees in NYC; Over 30,000 Attendees in San Francisco and Over 55,000 in Los Angeles
Over 780 Events by Local Organizers In All 50 States & Around the Globe Drew Additional Tens of Thousands of Attendees
Washington, DC—Hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered in cities large and small across the nation today 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 and still growing as of 1:15 pm Pacific Time. These events were just a few of the over 787 sites for “Families Belong Together” protests happening nationwide and around the world today.
The event in D.C. as well as other events across the country today featured the voices and stories of children and families as well as human rights activists, faith-based leaders, and artists from film, television, music, and theater, including headliners such as John Legend, America Ferrera, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and 12-year old Leah.
Today’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.
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 social media as well with celebrities, well-known activists, and political leaders who are joining the protests today both in person and through their social media presence.
“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.”
“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. The smallest event today is likely to be in Antler, North Dakota, population 27.”
“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, 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.”
“Today, we are marching to save the soul of our nation, and we will not back down. At this moment in our history, our very democracy and most fundamental values are at stake. The administration needs to immediately reunite detained children with their families and end the humanitarian crisis they created. The indefinite imprisonment of children, with or without parents, is depraved and illegal. It’s a false choice to suggest that children have to either be separated from their parents or incarcerated as a family when there are alternatives available that Trump cancelled. The massive numbers of people who are marching across the country and around the world today demonstrate the true power of the people who will not stand for this or any assault on our civil and human rights,” said Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
“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 Jimenez, 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. Together, we can win.”
“We demand that the Trump administration reunite families now; end family detention; and put an end to the zero-tolerance policy,” said Michelle Brané, director of the Migrant Rights and Justice program at the Women’s Refugee Commission. “These policies are not only inhumane but also ineffective and costly. We challenge the administration to examine the programs that have worked in the past, cost-effective and less traumatic; programs like the Family Case Management Program should be reintroduced. Today’s actions by thousands of Americans from all around the country are a clear indication that American people are saying no to inhuman treatment and that asylum-seekers are welcome.”
“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, a 12-year-old girl from Florida who fights for her undocumented parents and recently visited the border to bring messages to the immigrant children in McAllen, Tx. “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 outrage at the Trump administration’s decision to intentionally separate children from their parents extends throughout the country,” said George Goehl, director of People’s Action. “The news cameras are rolling in big cities, but rural and small town communities are rising up, too, and saying ‘this is immoral and must be stopped.’ We refuse to take the bait when this administration uses race to divide us.”
“At the border and in communities across the country, immigrant families are being torn apart by the Trump Administration. ICE is nothing less than a rogue agency, whose agents routinely raid schools, hospitals and clinics, courthouses — in violation of its own policy. CBP is no better. It has jurisdiction that stretches up 100 miles from the U.S. border, meaning that two thirds of the U.S. population is subject to enforcement by CBP agents. Indivisible joins in solidarity with immigrant families to demand justice. Families belong together and they belong free,” said Leah Greenberg, Co-Executive Director, Indivisible.
“Everyone knows that Families Belong Together. We must put the safety and security of children above any cynical political agenda and take action immediately to protect these families. HRC stands with coalition partners to call out this assault on human rights and to demand that families are kept together,” said Alejandro Aviles, Human Rights Campaign.
“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.
“The people are activated and ready to keep fighting for justice for the families who have been inhumanely detained and separated. Our movement will carry this momentum through November to elect leaders who will fight alongside us instead of on the sidelines,” Kica Matos, Spokesperson for FIRM Action.
“Moms are marching today because it’s long past time for President Trump’s human rights abuses in the name of immigration enforcement to end,” said MomsRising CEO Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner. “The current situation is devastating and untenable: Toddlers are facing immigration hearings alone, at least 2500 children are STILL separated from their families, thousands of families are expected to be detained in detention camps on military bases, pregnant women are being denied healthcare, women fleeing brutal domestic violence are unprotected, and asylum-seeking parents and children are still being denied their legally protected rights. All of this must stop. Incarcerating children with their families is still incarcerating children. The moms, dads, and people of America won’t stand silently as the Trump administration, who created this crisis, continues their campaign of hate. We have zero tolerance for Trump’s zero-humanity policy. And we will keep marching, keep calling on Congress, and keep raising our voices until children and families are safe.”
Photos available upon request: firstname.lastname@example.org
For a full map of events and list of participating organizations: FamiliesBelongTogether.org
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