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Marchers call for Dignity and Respect for all Immigrants

March 1, 2017

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On late Tuesday afternoon, people started to gather at the Calder Plaza in Grand Rapids for another action promoting immigrant justice.

The action today was on the heels of a February 16 march that began on 28th Street near division and even though today’s turnout wasn’t as big, the energy level was high. 

Before the march began there were several speakers with stories about family members being deported and a DACA student’s inspiring message. Organizer Gema Lowe, with the Workers Center in Grand Rapids, also led people in chants, talked about upcoming actions and made it clear to those present that this was a movement that was growing.

The march departed from Calder Plaza and made it’s way north on Ottawa towards Michigan. There were several large banners used by the marchers, along with signs and the use of a megaphone to lead everyone in chants.

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What was interesting about the march was that it was not only targeting the traffic on Michigan Avenue, it also made it difficult for those attempting to access the highway at Ionia during rush-hour. The marcher walked in a big square along Michigan, crossing at Ottawa and Ionia, making several rounds before the police told them that the next time they prevented cars from moving people would be arrested. This video gives you a better idea of how traffic was backed up on Michigan.

Police presence began at the Calder Plaza and then moved over to Michigan Avenue. The marchers were not confronted by police for the first 30 minutes, but more cops showed up and eventually threatened people with arrest if they didn’t stop making it difficult to move about.screen-shot-2017-02-28-at-7-21-07-pm

Marchers did make it very clear that they would stop disrupting the lives of motorists when the government and law enforcement agencies would stop disrupting the lives of immigrants by detaining, arresting and deporting members of their families. People in their cars were delayed by several minutes, while immigrant families are having families members taken from them and often deported thousands of miles from loved ones. The organizers of the march wanted to make this clear to people that they will not stop with these kinds of actions until the US government stopped terrorizing the immigrant community.

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