Tucson, AZ – More than 300 people gathered on Nov. 12, joining the wave of protests across the country with loud and clear messages of rejection of the new president-elect Donald Trump and his agenda of right-wing hate and repression.
The protest was organized by the local immigrant rights action committee L.U.P.E. and began at 4 p.m. in downtown’s Armory Park, where people gathered with signs and strong sentiments of support and solidarity. One of the organizers of the event, Edward C. Tolentino, said in the opening words, “Donald Trump ran on a platform of increasing militarization of the border and expanding mass deportations and family separations. As an immigrant rights organization, we denounce these attacks and are ready to stand side by side with our immigrant sisters and brothers to defend their right to justice and equality.”
As a border town, Tucson has been rightly declared an immigrant-friendly city. Given its local experiences fighting back against racist laws like SB1070 and the poli-migra – local police and border patrol collaboration – communities and local organizations are ready to continue the struggle against Donald Trump and any new internal repressive attacks that seek to harm or separate families in our communities.
After opening statements, the rally was energized with chants of “Dump Trump, not our president!” and “Said it loud, say it clear, immigrants are welcome here.” Chicano student and organizer of the event Bryan Orozco said, “It is clear that the new president-elect does not represent the interests of the multinational working class people of Tucson. We are indigenous, Chicanos, Mexicanos and we will stand together to defend nuestra cultura y nuestra gente.”
Former tribal leader of the Tohono O’otham nation David Garcia also spoke, saying, “The Tohono O’otham nation is a 75-mile international boundary. If Trump wants to beef up militarization, what happens down here will determine what happens on all parts of the border. Native nations are also affected by the nasty border policy.”
The rally proceeded to march through downtown Tucson’s historic Congress Street chanting, “Who’s streets, our streets,” and “No Trump, no KKK, no fascist U.S.A”, arriving at the federal courthouse, where the federal immigration program Operation Streamline takes place.
Undocumented activists, students and organizers took to the microphone to relay the harmful effects this immigration program has on the community. L.U.P.E member and organizer Stteffanny Cott declared, “Operation Streamline is responsible for processing, without due process, hundreds of immigrants a week, charging them with federal felonies to incarcerate them in for-profit prisons. Their only crime is being undocumented. These programs are immoral and inhuman and must be stopped.”
Dreamer and local activist Josue Saldivar shared his personal experiences as an undocumented youth and said, “I stand here today undocumented and unafraid. I have been and continue to be defined by a status and a piece of paper but we will continue to fight for the right we all have to be here with our families.”
A brief open mic session allowed community members to share theirs thought and feelings about the event and the current political situation of the country, before marching back to Armory Park where the protest finalized with a unity applause.