People gather in Kesey Square for the Families Belong Together Rally June 14, 2018.

Families Belong Together Rally Brings Crowd to Kesey Square

More than 100 people gather to support immigrants on a weekday afternoon

Upwards of 100 people gathered in Kesey Square for the Families Belong Together rally Thursday, June 14. The rally, opposing the “cruel, inhumane and unjustified separation of children from their families along the U.S. border and other points of entry,” according to the Facebook event page, was mainly organized by Catherine Clinton.

Clinton is a local naturopathic doctor, but she says her role as a mother to two young children is the reason she decided to organize the event.

“This is such an important issue we should be talking about everyday,” Clinton said as the rally started off. “I can’t think of a more horrific form of torture than families being separated.”

Clinton introduced multiple speakers to take the mic on the northwestern corner of Kesey Square, across the street from Sizzle Pie, including guests from the Refugee Resettlement Coalition of Lane County, a psychology professor from UO, a local midwife, a Springfield organizer for CALC (Community Alliance of Lane County) and former Eugene mayor Kitty Piercy, among others.

Johanis Tadeo, CALC’s Springfield Alliance for Equality and Respect (SAfER) community crganizer, alerted the crowd to another event happening in Springfield on June 25.

Tadeo said Monday, June 25, there will be a speak out against the Springfield Jail Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) contract. The contract, signed by the Springfield Police Department back in 2012, according to The Register-Guard, allows ICE to “house up to five ICE detainees at a time in the city’s 100-bed municipal jail.”

The speak out will be 6:30-8:30 pm at the Springfield Public Library during the Springfield City Council meeting.

“My community no longer wants to live in fear,” Tadeo, apart of the Latino community, said. “We want to feel safe and secure. We want to be able to call the police and know they’ll help us.”

The rally ended with various chants including: “No hate. No fear. Immigrants are welcome here,” before concluding with a 90-second moment of silence and a walk around the block.

Clinton, who had never organized a rally before, said she was inspired by seeing a call to action on Facebook. She said she hopes more people decide to take action like this in the future.

“This is not a political issue. This is a moral one,” Clinton said.