‘Families Belong Together’ Protest Planned for June 30

You don’t have to raise 12 million dollars to show support for immigrant families in the wake of the Trump administration's policies (though that certainly helps).

City officials and members of the public gathered at City Hall on Nov. 14, 2016, in a unified act of support for San Francisco’s sanctuary policies. (Jessica Christian)

San Francisco, it’s time to stand up. Yesterday’s protest at ICE headquarters is just the beginning; Activists have a slew of events in the next days and months to show support for immigrants’ rights. The largest event planned so far is a national protest against detaining children crossing the border called Families Belong Together, put on by MoveOn and Indivisible SF.

Steve Rapport, an organizer for the event, tells SF Weekly he jumped at the opportunity to participate in the S.F. rally through the organization Indivisible SF.

“We’re seeing more and more, even in our own city, incidents of racism. It’s intolerable,” Rapport said. “The days of sitting on the couch is over. People need to be out and need be vocal. We need to reassert democracy.”

In the last few days, pictures and news regarding tender age centers and treatment of children with undocumented parents struck a chord with many.

Donations to civil rights charities ticked up, public condemnation increased, and we’ve already won a small part of the battle; Trump signed an executive order Wednesday that agreed to let families be detained together instead of separated because of the mounting pressure.  

The coalition Families Belong Together quickly assembled after Walter Shaub, an ex-employee of the Office of Government of Ethics, tweeted repeatedly on June 16 asking people to start mass protests in response to the separation of families on the border of the United States.

On June 17, Shaub published a tweet asking for 50,000 Americans to voice their approval of a mass protest.

A national conference call followed between leaders of various activist organizations, causing a joint coalition and main protest in D.C. to be planned for June 30. Quickly, other cities such as San Francisco organized sister protests for the same date to show solidarity.

MoveOn.org, Indivisible SF, Women’s March San Francisco, Chicana Latina Foundation, National Center for Lesbian Rights, and The Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club are all co-organizers of the S.F. event. There will also be a protest in front of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office at 630 Sansome Street on Friday at 4:30 p.m.

Rapport has been involved in Indivisible SF and other activist groups for a while. He said immigration is especially important to him because his Polish mother was placed in a German concentration camp in WWII, a story which he plans to tell at the June 30 S.F. rally.

“I was at an ICE protest where they were chanting, ‘No Wall, No Camps!’ and I just started crying. My mom was in those camps,” Rapport said. “It’s very painful for me.”

Rapport became a United States citizen in February and decided to vote in the midterms after hearing news of the Muslim Ban, also introduced by the Trump administration. 

“Every time this administration comes up with a solution for the so-called immigration problem, I wonder if this will be their Final Solution.” Rapport said.  

In honor of the weight this carries for many immigrants and their children, Rapport is also setting up a candlelight vigil for detained children at 8 p.m. on the corner of Market Street and Powell Street on Saturday, June 23 as well.

The Families Belong Together event begins at Mission Dolores Park at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 30. After the march travels to City Hall, speakers will take the mic to share their experiences. 

To participate, send your information to the organizers here so they have an idea of how large the crowd will be.

Other sister protests happening in the Bay Area can be found here.

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