Nearly two hundred people gathered at West Hollywood Park on Saturday afternoon in one of many events around the country staged to protest Donald Trump’s immigration enforcement efforts that have included separating children from their families.
The rally was organized by City Councilmember Lauren Meister. While all speakers decried the Trump administration’s move to separate immigrant children from their families, the major message was the importance of getting out to vote getting active in political issues.
Ivy Bottini, an activist in her early 90s who is known national and locally for her action on women’s rights and other issues, decried what she called a community too lazy to vote.
“Get off your asses and bring back ACT-Up,” Bottini said, referring to the activist group that pushed successfully for government and medical industry action on HIV/AIDS. “I’m on your tail, and I’m watching you.”
A number of other local and national political activists spoke. One of them was Rob Reiner, the actor, filmmaker and activist who has been particularly outspoken about the removal of immigrant children from their families. Reiner and his wife, Michelle, recently travelled to Torntillo, Tex., where they condemned Trump’s decision to separate the children from their parents seeking asylum.
Also speaking were Mayor John Duran, a Latino who is chair of the National Association of Latin Elected Officials; Steve Rohde, who is a former president of the ACLU of Southern California and past chair of Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice. Currently, he is chair of Death Penalty Focus and Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace; Sepi Shyne, the co-chair of community engagement for the Human Rights Campaign Chapter; Chaz Bono, the actor and author whose most recent work was on “American Horror Story.” Many of the speakers were captured in the video above produced byRenee Sotile and MJ Godges of LGBT Hollywood.
The event was one of many across the nation staged as part of what was called a “Families Day of Action.” They were sparked by Trump’s recently rescinded decision to take children of immigrants seeking asylum away from the parents and house them in places that critics have described as “cages.”
“Frankly, I don’t recognize our country anymore. And, like others, I’m sad, and I’m angry, and I’m frustrated, and I want this administration to stop their insane and inhumane policies,” Meister said in explaining her reason for proposing the protest.
While Trump on June 21 reversed his order that children of immigrants seeking asylum be separated from the parents, it still isn’t clear how his administration will implement his change in the policy. According to a story in The New York Times, it still faces legal and practical obstacles. “…. And the president’s order does nothing to address the plight of the more than 2,300 children who have already been separated from their parents under the president’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy.”