Mobilizing to Keep Families Together and Free

OneAmerica partnered with a vibrant coalition of allies (#FamiliesBelongTogetherWashington) to organize a week of sustained action against family separation caused by the Trump administration’s policy of zero tolerance against migrants seeking asylum at the southern border.  The intensity of support from the broader community across Washington State was uplifting–even as the United States Government defended its policy of ripping children away from their parents, placing them in detention centers at the border and in makeshift and high-security facilities scattered across the nation, including here in Washington State.

At the heart of the series of actions was the #WalkAMileInOurShoes campaign to focus attention on the impact of separation and detention on children, including dozens of children under the age of five.  Caring community members donated children’s shoes that volunteers placed at the ICE office in Tukwila and the offices of US Representatives Dan Newhouse, Cathy McMorris-Rodgers, Jaime Herrera Beutler, and Dave Reichert. They called on these Republican leaders to intervene and protect children and families from the cruelty of the Trump Administration.

Here are some highlights from the week of action:

On Saturday, June 30th10,000 caring community members turned out to protest Trump’s policy of separating families at the SeaTac Federal Detention Center, where 200 migrants were being held in detention, many of them parents separated from their children.

Hundreds more took to the streets of Yakima, Vancouver, and Mount Vernon protesting family detention on June 30th as part of a national day of action, originally called by a coalition of national organizations and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (Washington, CD8) and the shared banner #familiesbelongtogetherandfree.

On July 1st, OneAmerica stood in solidarity with those immigrants being held at the Northwest Detention Center and their loved ones at a protest in Tacoma organized by Northwest Detention Resistance.

On July 2nd, nearly 100 turned out at a protest at the ICE offices in Tukwila, WA, placing several hundred donated shoes outside of the agency to represent the 2,300 children separated from their parents under the banner: #WalkAMileInOurShoes.

The next day, 30 community members went to Rep. Newhouse’s office with a letter demanding the immediate reunification of families.  The community also called on Newhouse to hold town hall meetings with constituents in Yakima and demanded he stand up to the President’s zero-tolerance policy.  In Seattle, OneAmerica joined an ongoing vigil led by faith and community leaders at the downtown ICE offices. The same vigil continues daily.

On July 4th, as hundreds of new Americans were being naturalized at the Seattle Center, OneAmerica’s own Dania Nuno and fourteen immigrants and refugees shared their stories with Governor Jay Inslee and his wife, Trudee, and discussed what steps need to happen for Washington State to move forward as a welcoming state prepared to resist the President’s xenophobic and racist agenda.

On July 5th, OneAmerica organizers and community members placed hundreds of children’s shoes outside of the offices of Representatives McMorris-Rodgers, Newhouse, Herrera Beutler, and Reichert. We demanded that they reject Congressional efforts to enact Trump’s proposal to reinstate the indefinite detention of families as an alternative to family separation.

The following day, OneAmerica staff and volunteers distributed informational flyers as courageous activists unfurled banners asking employees of Amazon, Microsoft, and Greyhound to speak out against the persecution of immigrant families supported by their respective companies.

The week of action ended with a reflection, debrief, and strategy discussion open to the public at the Muslim Association of Puget Sound (MAPS) in Redmond.

Altogether in less than one week, OneAmerica and our allies mobilized thousands of individuals to oppose the President’s immigration policies and brought the protest directly to our Representatives, immigration enforcement agencies, and the corporations contracting with or allowing the trampling of due process and immigrant rights.

Thank you for standing with us and our allies! With the summer just heating up, the fight for immigrant rights will only grow as the 2018 November elections come into focus.

Want to get involved? Join the daily vigil outside the Seattle ICE office. 

Want to help us continue to fight family separation? Support the OneAmerica emergency fund.

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