About 400 Memphians crowded into Shady Grove Presbyterian Church Monday night to address the Trump administration’s policy of separating families at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Hosted by activist group Indivisible Memphis, the meeting served as a space for brainstorming and organizing ways to support and advocate for those seeking asylum. Emily Fulmer of Indivisible Memphis said when it comes to immigration policies, the country is experiencing a “moral and political failure.”
“If you are like me, you are bringing a rock in your throat and anger that’s making your skin burn and sadness and lots of other feelings,” Fulmer told the audience. “I welcome all those things, as well as your passion, compassion, and determination.”
Fulmer said the purpose of the”action and organizing” meeting was to determine the next steps to help families who have been detained and those seeking asylum. One of the ideal ways to help, a representative with Latino Memphis said, is to donate money. At the meeting, $4,200 was raised to provide legal assistance to asylum seekers and families who have been detained.
Although President Donald Trump created and signed an executive order last week to end the of separation of families at the border, Gina John of Latino Memphis said “it’s not enough.” John said the order maintains Trump’s zero-tolerance policy, and people seeking asylum are still being turned away, which she says is illegal. The order also still grants permission for families to be detained, John said, which is “not something that we want,” as detained individuals have limited access to legal assistance.
The next step is a demonstration planned here for Saturday, June 30th, as a part of a national day of action protesting the separation of families. Hosted by Latino Memphis and the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, the rally will take place at 10 a.m. at Gaisman Park.
Attendees will have the opportunity to take further action steps, like registering to vote and contacting lawmakers about immigration legislation.