Scores of Moab residents rallied in downtown Moab Saturday, July 30, calling for an end to family separation and the Trump administration’s treatment of immigrants on the Mexico border.
The event was part of the national “Families Belong Together” day of action, and it paralleled more than 700 others throughout the United States. Libby Bailey, one of the event’s organizers, said 160 people attended the local event, held on the corner of Center and Main streets. What began as a rally evolved into a march down Main Street, with participants holding banners and flags, and many displaying open hands with the words “We” and “Care” written on them.
The day of action was anchored by a protest in Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C., and it spread through every state in the nation, said Bailey. At the Utah capitol building in Salt Lake City, 2,500 people gathered, protesting President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy with regard to immigrants crossing the southern border. Trump has subsequently reversed that policy, but it caused and has left thousands of children to be separated from their families and held in detention centers.
Bailey said the rally called for three key demands: To reunite families now, to end family detention, and to end what protestors call the “zero humanity” Trump policy. “Children and families deserve due process, not indefinite imprisonment,” read the demand statement that was the unified front of the national rallies. “Children do not belong in baby cages and internment-like camps. Family incarceration is not the solution to family separation.” Further, their statement said, “Parents should not be criminally prosecuted for doing what all parents do, which is bring their children to safety. This horrible nightmare for families will only end when Trump permanently stops his 100 percent prosecution policy.”
Moab Mayor Emily Neihaus read a proclamation, and Grand County Council Chair Mary McGann voiced her concerns over “the separation of families at our border and beyond.” The Moab event was key-noted by Enrique Sanchez of Park City, who spoke about being a “Dreamer” and the effects the Trump administration is having on communities across the nation. The president’s policies “are traumatizing children and families,” Sanchez said. Bailey added that the Trump administration “is failing to reunite thousands of children with their parents.”
The events coalesced under the progressive organization MoveOn.org and locally it was live-streamed on social media. Other Utah events were held in Logan, Provo, St. George and Kanab, according to MoveOn.org.
At the Salt Lake event, protestors chanted “Abolish ICE.” Speakers there ranged from the spiritual to the militant, according to a report in the Salt Lake Tribune. Like the Moab event, the Salt Lake rally morphed into a march as participants walked from City Creek Park uphill to the capitol lawn. Christopher “Kakuyo” Leibow, a lay minister with the Salt Lake Buddist Fellowship, offered a prayer that called for people to stand up against oppression, but also sought “a Colorado River of love that will spill over and fill the hearts of all.”