Caging of immigrant children denounced across races, cultures

immigration rally
7,000 protesters took over streets of downtown Minneapolis on Saturday afternoon Paige Elliott/MSR News

Protesters braved the humidity, swarming the streets of downtown Minneapolis on Saturday afternoon to rally against the Trump administration’s immigration policies. The Minneapolis Police Department estimates that 7,000 attended the march and rally on June 30, hosted by Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha, Navigate MN, Black Immigrant Collective, Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee, and other community organizations.

“Say it loud, say it clear — immigrants are welcome here!” and other chants echoed off buildings as protesters made their way from the Minneapolis Convention Center to the People’s Plaza in front of the Hennepin County Government Center.

Once stationed in front of the Hennepin County Jail along South 5th Street, speakers from various organizations addressed the crowd from a float featuring a cage — a symbol of children being held captive as they wait to be united with their families.

Stefanie G. Asante-Totimeh Paige Elliott/MSR News

“Would you allow your child to sleep in a cage? I think that is simply cruel and unusual punishment for children!” said Stefanie G. Asante-Totimeh, a nurse and executive director of African Health Workers United.

“When you are in my care when you are in my hospital, you are in my sanctuary,” she continued. “You are safe. And the only care you need to worry about is that you will get better. Nurses will never partake in this fearful, hostile environment…  It doesn’t matter if you are documented or not, because you are a human being!”

One of the more poignant moments came from nine-year-old Miranda, a child of undocumented parents who addressed the protesters. “Many of us are here today because we’re mad that children and babies are being separated from their families at the border and that ain’t right!” she said to cheers from the crowd.

Paraphrasing the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Miranda closed with, “Let freedom ring! Let’s all be free at last! Thank God Almighty, we will be free at last!”

See an MSR Facebook video stream of Miranda below:

The event was planned as part of a nationwide “Families Belong Together” day of action — a  response to the Trump administration’s policy of separating children from their parents at the US-Mexico border.

On July 27, President Donald Trump reversed course and signed an executive order to stop separations of undocumented immigrant families at the border. However, according to reports, an estimated 2,000 children have yet to be reunited with their parents.

Organizers of the march vowed to keep the pressure on and encouraged marchers to stay involved and make their voices heard at the ballot box during the upcoming mid-term elections.

Visit the MSR Facebook page for more video from the rally.