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‘These Are Human Rights Violations’

An organizer of tomorrow’s Families Belong Together protest on why to march and what to expect.

A protester holds an "Abolish ICE" sign


Tomorrow, San Franciscans can once again show off their witty, poignant, and biting sign-making skills as they join thousands nationwide in a day of action protesting the Trump Administration’s recent family separation policy. The march, which will start at Dolores Park at 10:00 a.m. and end at Civic Center at 1:00 p.m., is one of more than 100 taking place across California. Protesters will call for the end of indefinite detention for undocumented migrants and the reunification of families separated at the border, says Steve Rapport, one of the event’s organizers and a leader at Indivisible SF. We asked Rapport what to expect tomorrow.

San Francisco: How did Indivisible SF decide to get involved in the issue of family separation?
Ripping children away from their parents is unconscionable. These are human rights violations. [The government wants] to build a massive holding cell for 47,000 people in Concord, California. Concord announced that’s not happening because there’s so much outrage. We’re pushing our Democrats to stand up and fight back.

What draws you personally to the issue of family separation?
My mom was Polish. She was in the Lodz ghetto for four years [during the Holocaust]. Her father was murdered in front of her eyes. There was no food, and one night her mom said, “This is not enough food for the two of us to survive.” Her mother died that night in her bed. I have a transcription of [my mother’s stories]. I'm going to read it tomorrow and I'm going to try to get it published as a little booklet, sell copies on Amazon, and donate every single cent to immigrants and people of color that are fighting these battles.

San Francisco is pretty far from where these children and families are being detained. Why march here?
In San Francisco, we’re a sanctuary city, it’s not so easy for ICE to just pick people up. But it’s really about a national focus on abolishing ICE, reuniting families, not separating families, but also not criminalizing and incarcerating families.

How many people are you expecting at the march?
It is exploding a little bit. We have both a Facebook event page and the sign-up page. I think people are so pissed off with the depth and range of what’s happening that we have upwards of 8,000 [registered]. But I wouldn’t be surprised if we have 20,000 or 30,000 [show up].

How do you plan to sustain the passion at the march moving forward?
Just doing a march and going home isn’t really going to achieve very much. But there are a lot of actions we can take—becoming involved in the election, getting people to register to vote, working with groups like Indivisible, volunteering in the immigrant communities and communities of color who are most threatened by these policies.


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