Moms & Kids Hold Manassas Rally Against Separating Families at Border

| June 21, 2018 | 0 Comments | News

Indivisible Nova West members and their children protest outside Sen. Tim Kaine’s office in Manassas. (Photo by Mike Beaty.)

Moms and kids rallied outside Senator Tim Kaine’s Manassas City Office, late Thursday morning, drawing attention to the need to reunite families separated at the border and protest against the Trump Administrations “zero tolerance policy.”

The “Kids Advocating for Kids” action was organized through Indivisible Nova West, a left-leaning activist group in Northern Virginia. 

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday evening to stop separating immigrant families seeking asylum; however, protesters said there has yet to be a permanent solution, and they wanted to come out to draw attention to the problem, and show they wanted to be part of the solution.

Cher Muzyk of Nokesville was the rally’s lead organizer. She said she has no tolerance for the zero tolerance policy, which is often times misunderstood.

“Seeking asylum is not illegal,” she said, noting people are coming to this country often times because their lives depend upon it.

She said that separating families was especially egregious, and it is something that families even children can understand.

“We wanted to bring the moms and the kids out,” she said, because moms wanted to make their voices heard, as separating children from their parents and warehousing children absolutely contradicts their values. “This country is about inclusion and love,” said Muzyk.

Muzyk’s twin four-year-olds accompanied her to the protest, carrying signs they made themselves. One simply said “Love.” They knew issue behind the protest. 

“We want to get these kids back with their families,” said daughter Atoosa Longobardo. “Kids love their moms and dads,” added her brother, Osprey.

Muzyk wants to teach her children to be an advocate for change, but said this issue especially resonates with young children. “They are not props. They understand because it’s about kids and families, and it’s really what they know.”

Lana Craven, whose children are just a little older, said they definitely understand, and it is heartbreaking. “Why are these kids in cages,” they asked her. “Are they going to take us away too?”

Senator Kaine (Va-D) was not in his Manassas office at the time of the protest as he was attending a round-table conference in Arlington, Virginia with Virginia faith leaders and immigration advocates.

Attendees were not protesting him. They believed he was on their side. In fact he had introduced legislation on June 8, along with Sen. Mark Warner (Va-D) to prohibit the separation of children and their parents except in extreme circumstances, calling the zero tolerance policy “cruel and heartless.” 

“The Trump Administration’s policies trample on American values by tearing families apart and demonizing people seeking refuge,” Sen. Kaine said in a release.“This bill is an effort to protect kids from unnecessary harm by keeping families together and putting in place safeguards for children who have been separated from their parents.”

Kaine’s aides promised to pass along the messages they received. The activists thanked him for all that he had done so far to try to pass legislation to keep families together.

People asked if there was any more they could do. Perhaps bringing necessary items to Youth for Tomorrow in Bristow, which is housing some children. They also asked that Kaine tour the facility.

Marilyn Karp of Haymarket suggested forming a group of grandmas to give loving support to the children.“We’ll call it HUGS…something, something grandmas, something.” She said mommies and busy being mommies, but grandmas have more time.

Karp, who helped secure permits for the protest, said that everything the administration has done has stirred up emotions in her, but she uses that to fuel her activism. “I turn it outward and I turn it towards doing something and getting other people involved.”

She wants citizens to know they have voices. “This is what we can do. The people of this country have to be out on the streets. There is something they can do; they can just come out and speak from the heart. This is not America,” said said.

Karp believes this is a pivotal moment for the “resistance” because it has gotten the attention of so many citizens including those who are not usually politically active. It is not even a ‘D’ or ‘R’ issue, she said, but a humanitarian one.

And, due to outcry, the administration has already begun an about-face. “The administration has painted itself into a corner. The only thing they can do now is grant these people asylum,” she said.

President Trump announced Thursday afternoon that he plans to reunite the children with their parents. Many asked how he can keep families “indefinitely” when the law says the U.S. cannot detain immigrant children for more than 20 days.

Congress is considering certain bills but trying to tie in other immigration issues in the bill is complicating the matter.

While there has been tremendous outcry from the American people, there are those who say that America is simply protecting its borders. Many believe coming into this country illegally, is essentially, breaking the law. It is a crime.

Kenny Boddye, a Prince William Democrat, said that it a common sentiment among people who oppose illegal immigration. “They are conflating immigration with asylum.” He said seeking asylum is legal especially when people are coming from unstable countries in South and Central America where violence is rampant.

He admits that many people crossing the border are not coming through the proper ports of entry, but they are handing themselves over to border agents. “At the end of the day, of of these people are fleeing for their lives,” he said, as well as the lives of their children.

He said the U.S. has helped in humanitarian crisis overseas, should we turn our back on these individuals asking us for help?

Muzyk said she considers the protest to have been a success. She said they have done protests in Manassas before, but by far have gotten the biggest positive response from this one.

But, now, they have to continue pushing.

Photos by Mike Beaty. 

© 2018, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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