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July 3, 2018 > Families Belong Together Rally

Families Belong Together Rally

Submitted By Toni Shellen

Fremont's "Families Belong Together" Rally filled Veterans Memorial Park on Saturday, June 30, 2018. Despite the hot weather, it was estimated that between 400 and 500 people attended, including many families. The event was part of a National Day of Action to protest the Trump administration's new "zero tolerance" immigration policy. The protest's specific demands are to Reunite families now, End family detention, and End 'Zero Humanity.'

Reverend Lori Watson of St. James Episcopal Church offered an opening prayer and music was provided by Emanuelu Samoan Youth & Praise Team. Emcee Lourdes Martinez and members of Mujeres Unidas y Activa shared their personal stories, as did Debra Watanuki, Laurie Manuel, David Bonaccorsi, and Aisha Wahab. Fremont Mayor Lily Mei, Martha Kreeger, and Toni Shellen also offfered comments; students from the Parkland Voter Movement participated.

Congress members Ro Khanna and Eric Swalwell encouraged the crowd with their commitment to fight this inhumane treatment of children and families. The keynote speaker, civil rights activist Dr. Harry Edwards, captivated and inspired the crowd as he reminded us of our nation's history and said that it is up to "We the people to right this ship of state." Edwards said, "The difference between a mob and a movement is follow through. Get organized, get mobilized, get people registered and get people to the polls to vote." He closed by telling us to "Keep the faith, continue the struggle and never ever, ever give up on this great nation or its institutions and its values." His message left us both hopeful and energized.

After the program, many went to the corner of Paseo Padre and Walnut Avenue with their signs to witness to the community. Many passersby honked in approval!

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