“Families Belong Together” Rallies and Marches June 30

“Families Belong Together” Rallies and Marches June 30
By Chris Hotchkin

At least 600 people, many wearing white to show solidarity with immigrants, rallied in Fishel Park in Downers Grove on a very hot Saturday afternoon, June 30. Many carried signs calling for families to stay together, for our country to support immigrants, for love to trump hate.  The rally was one of 700 rallies and marches held nationwide on June 30 to protest the Trump administration’s policy of zero tolerance at our borders, the taking of children from parents as they cross the border to ask for asylum, and the holding of children in detention centers, sometimes in cages. Even though Trump has signed an order ending the taking of children from their parents, some 2000 children remain separated from their parents and the administration seems to have no way to reunite them.

The Chicago march and rally reportedly had 60,000 participants, making it one of the largest in the country. In addition to Chicago and Downers Grove, rallies and marches were held throughout Illinois in Arlington Heights, Aurora, Barrington, Carbondale, Champaign, Elgin, Frankfort, Glenview, Highland Park, Joliet, Macomb, Ottawa, Peoria, Quincy, Rockford, St. Charles, Springfield, Sycamore, and Ullin.

The Downers Grove rally was organized by Anne Stava-Murray, candidate for State Representative in the 81st District in Downers Grove, along with Indivisible Naperville. Speakers at the rally included Democratic State Representative Linda Chapa LaVia; Grace Arimura who was interned with her family in a Japanese Internment camp during WWII while her brother served in the U.S. Army; Moon Khan, community activist; Meggie Hernandez-Zayas, survivor of domestic violence and advocate/educator; Prevail Bonga, recent high school graduate and newly-minted activist whose Congolese parents sought asylum in the U.S.,; Azam Nizamuddin, attorney, law professor and president of the Muslim Bar Association; and Regina Brent, community activist. In addition, brief and emotional stories of first-hand experiences of parents and children separated at the border were read. Dianne McGuire of Indivisible Naperville and her husband Fred Greenwood, and congressional candidate Sean Casten, led the crowd in chants of “This is what Democracy Looks Like,” “Immigrants are welcome here,” “Resist,” and “Never Again.” Speaker Regina Brent led the crowd in singing “We Shall Overcome” to end the rally.

Many local candidates (all Democrats) were in attendance, including Sean Casten for the 6th Congressional District, Laura Ellman for State Senate District 21, Val Montgomery for State Representative District 41, Lynn LaPlante for DuPage County Board Chair, Liz Chaplin for County Board District 2, Irfan Ibrahim for Forest Preserve District 3, Jeff Jacobson for 18th Judicial and Linda Davenport for 18thJudicial.