Immigrant Rights Activists and Environmentalists March against Family Separation

Melina Rodriguez chants into a megaphone during the Families Belong Together March in Los Angeles, CA on July 21, 2018. (Photo by Jayrol San Jose)

Melina Rodriguez chants into a megaphone during the Families Belong Together March in Los Angeles, CA on July 21, 2018. (Photo by Jayrol San Jose)

Hundreds of people gathered at MacArthur Park to protest the Trump Administration’s "zero tolerance" policy that has separated thousands of migrant families. Before protesters took to the streets, a rally began at 10 a.m. on the north east corner of Alvarado St and Wilshire Blvd in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday July 21.

The "Families Belong Together March Los Angeles 2" event was co-hosted by numerous organizations and groups such as March and Rally Los Angeles, SoCal 350, and Occupy ICE Los Angeles.

Two marches were originally set to take place on the hot Saturday, the other being "This is Zero Hour Los Angeles." Organization members from both marches met and came to the conclusion that the two would merge, seeing as how the issues both marches tackled had overlapping themes. “[Families Belong Together March organizers] got to talking and we realized there’s a lot of overlap between the issues of immigration and the issues of climate change… We have this global immigration crisis and it’s only going to continue to escalate as climate refugees are added on top of that," said Gavin Pierce, one of the march's organizers from SoCal 350.

Speakers stood on the truck bed stage on the hot late morning to address the issues the event tackled. "Wherever I go I’m going to say, I’m undocumented, unafraid, and unapologetic," said Justino Mora, the co-founder of Undocu Media before he and others told their stories about the word illegal. Mora's referenced what a friend once told him, "The word ‘illegal’ is an identity, that it is imposed by the government to keep a population oppressed, marginalized, and disenfranchised. And that’s how we have to see this government, as an oppressive state. And any institution created to oppress our people, it has to be abolished.”

Other speakers such as Yolanda Varela Gonzalez also took the stage to also tell their own stories. She said, "We are not in Nazi Germany, I do not have to carry my ID or my papers where ever I go and the fear and intimidation being put upon our migrants is unjustified and unlawful."

The large crowd headed south bound on Alvarado St chanting “Abolish ICE” among other chants. The route of the approximately three mile march went through neighboring areas of MacArthur park as local vendors and residents ventured outside to stand amidst the roaring chants of the banner-clad protesters.The march's route took it back to MacArthur Park with a police led escort just after 1 p.m., when another speaker led rally took place.

At that rally speaker Brandon Ramirez from Democratic Socialists of America said, "At the root, modern migration and climate change are caused by the same root cause, it's imperialism. Imperialism’s thirst for exploiting the planet. Now, history has shown us that the land of the indigenous people’s, they will be stolen, they will be drained and discarded in the name of profit." 

After the speakers had finished, the "Afro-Cuban hip hop based dance band" Earth Arrow gave a performance to conclude the rally.

The event concluded at approximately 2 p.m. with no official counts of violence or arrests.