Voices from Families Belong Together

On a hot Saturday, hundreds of people marched from City Plaza to the General Assembly in downtown Raleigh to send a message to President Donald Trump and Congress that families should not be separated while crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. Raleigh was one of 22 cities in the state that participated in the Families Belong Together march.  We spoke to attendees about why they were at the march and why this issue was important to them.

Attendees listen while holding a line of children's clothes at the Families Belong Together march in downtown Raleigh.

Attendees listen while holding a line of children's clothes at the Families Belong Together march in downtown Raleigh.

Nancy and Shauna

Nancy and Shauna

IMG_8703.jpg

"For me, it was more like a human rights than another thing. 

"Taking action is challenging for some of us. For me, it is an issue to come because I’m like well what do I do. I am not a citizen from here so what do I need to do over here. At the end, to be in action for something." —Nancy

"Voting is critical and advocating is critical, but sometimes you need to feel like you’re doing something tangible and physical. It can be a very overwhelming and lonely place otherwise, so these spaces are reinforcing that there are other people fighting. 

"I’ve actually reached out to friends to try to create an accountability group, because it is something the gets so inundated and involved with the different directions focus your energy. If I’m asked by someone I know to take action, if I ask them to take action, I feel like that’s a better chance of seeing things done on a regular basis." —Shauna 

 

Attendees of the march gather outside the State Legislative Building in downtown Raleigh.

Attendees of the march gather outside the State Legislative Building in downtown Raleigh.

Allison and Ana

Allison and Ana

IMG_8733.jpg
"I’m DACA. I came here when I was 6 years old. I didn’t cross the border myself, because I’m from South America, but I have friends who did. They’re experiences were traumatizing even though they weren’t separated from their families just the simple act of crossing to get away from the horrible situation in their country. It is just a strong enough experience for the rest of your life, so to imagine people being separated from their comfort and care, I can’t even imagine it. No kid or parent or any human being would do that. It’s kind of a personal experience for me too." —Ana  
"This is actually my first march. It was really powerful, a super powerful experience to see not only people like me, but people from all walks of life — all nationalities, sexual preferences and stuff — being able got come together and unite for a specific group." —Allison
The crowd listens to a pediatrician talk about the effects of separating kids from their families.

The crowd listens to a pediatrician talk about the effects of separating kids from their families.

Kenton, J, Cassandra, Rebecca and their friend. 

Kenton, J, Cassandra, Rebecca and their friend. 

"My family was granted asylum here in the ‘80s and I’m here because of that. That’s why I’m here." —Sheeva
IMG_8699.jpg
"They deserve to remain together as families and they deserve to be treated as humans and not marginalized and dehumanized. I also feel really strongly about the intersectionality of issues so if we want to work toward breaking down any systems of oppression, we need to be looking into all of them." —Rebecca
"I’m here to support immigrants coming to this country. Our country as a whole has a history of separating families to annihilate certain types of people, and history is repeating itself. We have to stand up and fight." —Cassandra 
 "I have so many friends and family that are being affected by all of these changes Donald Trump is making. I feel like it is very important to be present for things like this and also to be out here with the right mindset of this is a serious thing not a celebration. That is one of the reasons why I have this sign.. It’s vulgar. It’s very bold, because this is a very serious issue." —J 

"This country has a history of the people in power using the division of people at the bottom in order to maintain power at the top. I think it’s important for those of us who are not those who control the power, are not those who control industry or government to not allow fabricated divisions to keep us apart and to not allow those who are at the top to keep us underfoot. I think there are a finite number of times we get the chance to show up and refuse to let those divisions take hold." —Kenton 

A man, wearing a shirt referencing Melania Trump's infamous jacket stating "I really don't care, do you?" while she boarded an Air Force plane to visit a Texas detention center, listens to the speakers. 

A man, wearing a shirt referencing Melania Trump's infamous jacket stating "I really don't care, do you?" while she boarded an Air Force plane to visit a Texas detention center, listens to the speakers. 

Issue NC