OC Activists to March in Irvine Against Trump’s Separation of Migrant Families

Activists protest against immigrant family separation outside Rep. Ed Royce’s office in 2014

A host of liberal groups are coming together on Saturday for a local march and rally in Irvine opposing President Donald Trump’s border policies that separated mostly Central American migrant mothers from their young children. Irvine is just one of more than 650 #FamiliesBelongTogether events taking place in all 50 states across the nation and in its capital. They’ve all been organized in response to the disastrous effects of the White House’s zero-tolerance policy and Trump’s executive order addressing it in the form of proposed family internment camps. 

Joining forces for the Irvine event are Women for American Ethics and Values (WAVE), HB Huddle, Imagine Action OC, Indivisible OC 48, Indivisible CA 45, OC Rapid Response, Orange County Justice Fund, Resist Here and Together We Will Orange County. 

“The #FamiliesBelongTogether protests will coalesce the energy and emotion of millions of compassionate Americans who, regardless of political party affiliation, vehemently oppose this attack on the vulnerable and oppressed,” said Joanna Weiss, WAVE president, in a press statement. “This does not represent our values and vision of America.”

Other local #FamiliesBelongTogether happenings on Saturday include gatherings at Cesar Chavez Park in Long Beach at 10 a.m. and at Main Beach in Laguna Beach at 11 a.m. 

Back in Irvine, the day’s events begin at Portola High School. That’s where organizers are asking people to gather at 3 p.m. for a rally. Scheduled speakers include Democratic congressman Lou Correa (CA-46), congressional candidate Katie Porter (CA-45), and OC Sheriff hopeful Duke Nguyen who bested anti-Sanctuary State Aliso Viejo mayor David Harrington to run against candidate Don Barnes in November.

But it ain’t just politicians. Margaret Houffelaar, a 91-year-old WAVE member, will speak about her harrowing experiences of life under Nazi occupation in addition to reporting back from the protest she attended outside a detention center in Tornillo, Texas where separated migrant children are being held. 

From there, marchers will trek a little over a mile from the high school towards James A. Musick facility where immigrant detainees are housed. Organizers are encouraging folks to wear white in a show of solidarity with the nationwide actions.

“We affirm the dignity of all persons and the sanctity of families, most particularly the beauty, innocence, and vulnerability of all children who do not yet influence their world but are subject to its whims,” said Faye Hezar, an Imagine Action OC leader, in a press statement. “We look forward to electing representatives who reflect the true family values of our community.”

With 16 migrant children separated by zero-tolerance being housed alongside unaccompanied minors and foster youth at Crittenton Services in Fullerton, organizers are also asking for donations of new soccer balls, playing cards, kids’ movies on DVD and Spanish books. 

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