Our neighbors from Lovettsville, and across Loudoun County, traveled as best they could this past Saturday from their homes here to Washington, DC.
They made the journey despite the harsh 90 degree summer heat, by car, bus, train, and on foot, to protest the separation by our government of young Central American and Mexican Children from their parents.
Most of these migrants insisted, through interpreters, that this was a story of flight from the dangers that they had to leave behind, from what had been their home.
They fled the abuse and danger they suffered there, to find asylum and safety in these United States, as had the many who came before them to find peace and a new life.
Migrants who anticipated that this Administration might resist their asylum petitions said they had no alternative.
Lovettsville’s Caitlin Garrison Keefe argued with her mother that this was the right thing to do, to do this march.
Caitlin was deeply hurt that her mother couldn’t see it, and she cried over it.
Caitlin took her own child, Dylan, to Washington, DC, and made the trip with Kris Consaul and her girlfriend’s daughter.
It may not be true mathematically but it sure appeared that there were many more women than men who came to Lafayette Park.
As they stood before the White House to make their views known, thousands more objected elsewhere – in as many as 700 cities and towns across the nation.
Caitlin said, “[It] was the most empowering and uplifting event I have ever been blessed to be a part of.”
“Every race, every political party, every faith, every gender of all ages,” Caitlin said “were there to show support and demand accountability … [for] this administration’s zero humanity policy.”
It was important her son Dylan was there, Caitlin said, “to see thousands and thousands of people from all walks of life standing up and speaking out against this heartless policy …”
One woman proudly held a handmade sign that read, “Isn’t kidnapping a capital crime?” The answer is yes if the child suffers an injury.
Even a young child wore a “resist” t-shirt, albeit paternally inspired.
There are more than 2,000 children separated from their parents and the efforts to reunify these families is fraught with problems.
A federal judge has ordered that family reunification be sped up, that there be an end to deporting parents without their kids, but bureaucratic hurdles abound.
Volunteers are struggling to find children and the corresponding parents. They are recruiting lawyers and interpreters to take advantage of the brief windows in time the government will allow “outsiders” to visit and talk to these children to obtain enough identifying information to reunite them with their families.
While Saturday’s massive demonstration went forward without incident, about 600 women were arrested last Thursday during a nonviolent civil disobedience action, when they took over a Senate office building to call for the abolition of ICE, a demand gaining growing support in the wake of the forced separations.
Kristen Swanson went to the March with her friends, Kristine Condie, Tami Carlow, and Mo Thomas.
“It was not an option, to stay away,” Kristen said, “If you were able bodied and cared about this country, you showed up.”
Asked where the men were, Kristen just shrugged.