From the July-August 2018 issue of News & Letters
Los Angeles—In June, this city was one of hundreds in mass protests against Trump’s “zero tolerance” agenda against migrant refuges looking for asylum. On June 30, over 30,000 mostly white youths in white T-shirts, Latinx families and low-wage workers, and Black and mixed race couples gathered at Grand Park downtown protesting the separation of 3,000 children from their families criminalized for seeking refuge.
Under the banner “Keep Families Together,” signs read: “Who Steals Children?—Boko Haram and the U.S. Government!” “Seeking Asylum Is Not a Crime,” “Kidnapping Is Not a Policy, It’s a Crime,” and “You Can’t Go Back to Change the Beginning, but You Can Start Where You Are and Change the End.”
Among the speakers were Senator Kamala Harris and Congresswoman Maxine Waters. At a July 1 press conference to support Waters, Pastor Shane Scott was one of 20 to 30 Black pastors from Southern California. She stated: “The policy is reminiscent of days of slavery when it was legal for families to be ripped apart and sold and for others to profit on Black and Brown bodies….We call for the end of the cruel punishment of separating children from their parents.”
Halfway through the rally, the protesters marched to the federal detention building to support the detained migrant refugees.
‘ABOLISH ICE! ABOLISH PRIVATE PRISONS!’
On June 22, hundreds of protesters with the “ICE out of LA coalition” gathered against Trump’s attack on primarily Central American asylum-seeking migrants at the downtown detention building, where many immigrants are incarcerated. Signs read “Abolish ICE!” “End Family Incarceration,” “Abolish All Borders” and “You Are on Indian Land.”
An immigrant from Sri Lanka stated: “The historical war between India and Pakistan was provoked by colonizers. This is a war on people of color.”
On the same day, several hundred protesters, also with “ICE out of LA coalition,” protested Trump’s executive order to detain immigrant families indefinitely. They called for the abolition of the private prison industry and all prisons and for the abolishment of ICE.
Even before the massive national protests on June 30, on June 14 several thousand people gathered at MacArthur Park to protest separating mothers from their children at the Mexico/U.S. border by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Organized by MarchAndRallyLA.com, this protest was part of the national protests in support of immigrants seeking asylum in the U.S. Over half the protesters were white activists in support of Latinx migrants primarily from Central America.
Signs read “Keep Families Together,” “Migration Is a Human Right,” “Defend DACA” and “Stop ICE, Stop Separating Families, Trump Should Be Charged with Crimes against Humanity.”
Among the speakers was a woman representing the Alliance of Feminists Fighting Fascism, Imperialism and Racism, an organization for immigrant women’s rights. She stated: “I’m fed up with this government that abuses our children. Immigrant women and children are people. Family separation due to deportation results in fear of not coming home to our children, family and community. We experience depression, anger, anxiety and pain.”
After the speeches we marched several miles to the downtown federal detention center where undocumented migrants are held and chanted there: “When our children are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back! When immigrant rights are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back!”