By Danielle Miller
Community members stood together late Wednesday afternoon at Walker Square Park in Milwaukee to send a message to their neighbors: that they are protected and wanted.
The march, which was organized by Young People’s Resistance Committee of Milwaukee, featured testimonies from community members who were affected by the repeal of the program known as Deferred Action for Child Arrivals, or DACA.
“We will not stand still as Trump and the politicians in Washington continue to play with our lives and the lives of our immigrant people,” said Marcela Aguilar Monroy, a DACA recipient and YPRC leader, “We want to let our community know that we have their back.”
The redaction of the DACA program is estimated to affect the lives of 800,000 people living in the U.S. affecting students, workers, and community members around the country.
“Kids are afraid,” said Roberta Thurstin-Timmerman who felt that children and families were being targeted, “It’s not what I believe our country is about.”
The “dreamers” who marched and chanted about immigration reform and the actions against deportation, as well as education and legalization for all.
“A lot of students who are dreamers have been here since they were 4 or 5 years-old, this is their home,” said Mitch Burtard, who is a local middle school principal.
Burtard said wanted to march because he believed a human is a human, regardless of where they immigrated from.
The march started from Walker park to National Avenue where marchers filled the four-lane road. The parade of activists continued onto Cesar Chavez Dr. and was greeted by people hanging out of brightly colored homes to wave at those who passed by, singing and clapping along to chants.
One testimony that was read aloud while crowds gathered at Walker Square Park was from a single mom who said that the DACA program gave her eldest child hope that he could accomplish his dreams.
“Trump’s actions crushed the youth known as dreamers and their families who hoped,” the single mother said, “We are not the criminals they paint us to be, we only want to get ahead.”
Sorority sisters from the multicultural Zeta Sigma Chi participated in the event, all holding signs that showed their solidarity with DACA, one sign saying “Keep the Kids, Deport the Racists.”
“My mom called me crying,” Kat Lopez said, and that her mother worried about what the repercussions would be for her daughter, who is a DACA recipient, but the support her sorority sisters and community members had gave her hope.
“It’s more than just the 800,000 people being affected by this,” said Vicki Villarreal, who is apart of Zeta Sigma Chi Multicultural Sorority, “It’s their families and friends too.”
Member of the Young People’s Resistance Committee, Monroy spoke to those who attended the march and said that while DACA wasn’t a perfect program, comparing its services to scrapes, it was a starting point to greater reform, and that President Trump’s decision to repeal the program is “proof that the Trump Administration is attacking the immigrant population.”
“We marched here because this is our community,” Monroy said about marching around the South side, “We will build our own sanctuary.”