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Protesters demand end to family separation at United States Attorney offices in Providence



Over two dozen people showed up outside the offices of United States Attorney for the Rhode Island District Stephen Dambruch near Kennedy Plaza in Providence Friday afternoon to demand an end to the policy of separating immigrant parents and children at the border. The Trump policy of “zero tolerance” for crossing the border without mandated documentation has led to a new awareness of the cruelty happening every day at our southern border. The event was organized in concert with ACLU People Power.

The first two videos below are of the crowd singing in protest to the policy of separating families at the border. After that, there are some personal testimonies about immigration by some of the poeple.

“I am a child of immigrants. I am Guatemalan,” said Helen Conforti. “My parents came here back in the 60s. They crossed illegally, I was born in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. My parents then went back [to Guatemala] and eventually got their papers to com here.” Conforti then went on to describe her life and accomplishments, serving in the National Guard, graduating from Rhode Island College and owning a home, like both of her brothers. “I cannot imagine what would happened to me if my parents were crossing the border and I had been ripped away from my family.”

“I’m here because I am a Jew,” said Eve Savitsky. “We are one week away from the anniversary of the St Louis, the ship that was turned away in 1939 with 100 souls on board. It was turned away from Cuba. It was turned away from the US. It was turned away from Canada. And ultimately the ship was returned to Europe, where many of the folks that were on that ship dies in the Holocaust.”

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Professor Peter Nightingale talks about his family history of privilege and immigration.

Nancy Hood:

“I can’t take Donald Trump persecuting children. It’s a disgrace!”

A story about overzealous United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents violating constitutional safeguards.

Randall Rose:

“Last night I was deciding whether to come or not and all of a sudden my heart hurt. My heart was breaking open and I said, ‘I cannot not show up and speak up.’ This is horrible!”

At the end of the protest United States Attorney Stephen Dambruch invited two representatives from the protest to go upstairs and speak with him. No cameras or press were allowed, but here’s a short report from Helen Conforti and Rebecca Kislak, who were chosen by the protesters to represent them:

(c)2018 Helen Conforti

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About the Author

Steve Ahlquist is Uprise RI's co-founder and lead reporter. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for nearly a decade.