The first protest I ever went was an immigration march in Chicago. The march went past my grade school so we had the day off and my brother’s high school agreed to allow excused absences for students who attended. Our my mom gave us $10 and my brother and I went to our first rally. It made national news and I felt like I was a part of something important.
When I heard about the Families Belong Together Rally in Denver, I knew I had to be there. When there are dozens of horrifying and upsetting news stories a day, a few stand out more than the others. It is so easy to get overwhelmed and stop paying attention to what the government is doing to this country and the world. But, when children and parents are being separated and detained just for trying to reach safer grounds, it’s hard not to be affected. It’s important to keep paying attention and keep being upset because this news should be upsetting!
There was a moment during the rally that brought tears to my eyes. The speaker asked all immigrants to raise their hands. Then they asked anyone who was a descendant of immigrants to raise their hands. My grandparents were we’re asylum seekers who came here to escape Nazi Germany. At a time when many others in their situation were being turned away and sent to their eventual deaths, my family managed to make it to safety. This country provided the asylum they needed that saved their lives. And later, my grandfather served in the US Army and fought against his native land in World War II. His fluency in German proved to be an important asset in the war effort.
When it comes to protests, it’s important to show up because numbers make a difference. That first march I went to with my brother drew tens of thousands and it made national news. It woke people up and demanded that they pay attention. That’s why showing up matters. It’s not easy, especially for people with unconventional schedules like me. I’m often working during protests and marches or it’s the only free time I have that week to edit, answer emails, or go grocery shopping. It’s hard to even keep track of when the next one will be. I try to go when I can because I know how important showing up is and I know how important documenting these events can be.
What collection of protest photos would be complete without an adorable dog, keeping cool in the shade?
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