Local groups plan protests of border separations
WESTPORT — Separating families at the Mexican-American border is bad not just for those children taken from their parents. It’s bad for all American children, according to Darcy Hicks.
“When they study the formation of the government, they’re studying about people fleeing from oppression and about a constitution that embraces everybody and they’re studying about people’s rights,” said Hicks, a Westport resident. “Our families are not directly touched, but we are indirectly touched in the sense that we want the country where we raise our children to be kind and to be the same country that they’re studying in school.”
Hicks is a co-founder of DefenDemocracy of CT, a group of activists who demonstrate against abuses of the Constitution, the environment and of humanity, according to its site. She was one of a group of roughly 60 people, including Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who gathered at the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge June 24 to protest Trump’s zero tolerance border policy.
“I think it’s important to protest because we are a nation that should be welcoming immigrants,” said Lauren Soloff, also a co-founder of DenfenDemocracy. “I think that we are on a very slippery slope with this policy. At its heart, it’s about hatred for someone less fortunate than ourselves.”
Sunday’s was the second protest this month organized by the group in Westport. On June 10, also on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge, more than 50 people gathered alongside U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, D-4. And in other towns across Fairfield County, people are protesting, too. In Fairfield, the Democratic Town Committee (DTC), hosted a protest on Sherman Green on June 23.
On June 30, in conjunction with the nationwide Zero Tolerance Policy protests, the Connecticut District 4 (ICT4) branch of the national organizing group Indivisible, will host another demonstration on Sherman Green, at 11 a.m. Rallies at the same time in Stamford and Greenwich are also planned.
Though Trump signed a June 20 executive order effectively ending the separation of children from their parents, and though a federal judge ruled June 26 that all children under 5 years old must be reunited with their parents within 14 days, and all children over five must be reunited with their parents within 30 days, those opposed to this administration’s immigration policy are not contented.
“There’s still the issue of the kids that have been separated, the kids who have been moved all across the country and flown in dead of the night. What’s the process to reunite them with their families?” said Erach Screwvala, communications director of ICT4.
According to Screwvala, even with the federal court ruling, now is not the time to let up.
“When you’re kind of frightened and angry at things in Washington, it sometimes feels like you’re feeling it alone, in isolation. To be out with friends and neighbors it offers the sense of community that we’re not alone in being upset,” said Screwvala.
That can be important at a time when many feel exhausted by the news cycle and discouraged by the seemingly futile protests against Trump’s policy. It’s a complaint that Hicks said she’s heard often. But she does not put much stock in the futility argument.
“The protests are working,” she said. “Trump didn’t suddenly have a change of heart and become empathetic overnight. He did it because he was nervous. Because we make him nervous. So the pressure that we’re applying is being felt.”
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