By Eesha Pendharkar
BU News Service
Hundreds of people gathered to march against deportation and President Trump’s immigration policies at Chinatown Gate in Boston on Saturday.
“We’re trying to build a mass movement to resist deportation,” said John Harris, one of the organizers of the march.
The protest was in response to the president’s executive order, which placed a temporary ban on citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S.
The march, hosted by the Boston May Day Coalition, began at 1 p.m. at Chinatown Gate where protesters gathered with pro-immigration signs. They marched to the statehouse chanting “No hate, no fear, Muslims are welcome here” and “Build bridges, not walls.”
Once the group reached the steps in Boston Common directly in front of the Statehouse, speakers from supporting organizations addressed the crowd.
“My wife isn’t a U.S citizen yet, and knowing about the recent executive order, we felt we had to come here and speak up,” Regina Downing said. Regina and her wife, Nicola Downing, attended the march with their young daughters. “Hopefully they remember this and that they still need to stand up,” said Regina.
Ron Newman, 59, said he was marching because “the U.S was built on immigration. We can’t betray what this country stands for.” He said, as a Jewish person, it was particularly difficult to witness America turning its back on immigrants once again. “We turned away Jews in World War II on the St. Louis and they went back to Europe and were killed. We should’ve learned from that,” he said.
Vashti Malkuth, clad in head-to-toe black, stood in a group of around 10 similarly dressed protesters. A few held up giant black flags that read, “Anti Fascist Action New England.”
“At this point, silence is collaboration with fascism,” said Malkuth. “It is our right and responsibility to revolt.”
Malkuth went on to describe how some of her family were victims in the Holocaust. “Love didn’t stop the Nazis, violent resistance did,” she said. “Personally, they will have to go over my dead body if they want to deport my neighbors.”
Chief Kenny Black Elk, also known as Kenneth Barber, marched at the front of the protest, leaning on his walking stick. “When they talk about immigrants, they need to remember, they are the immigrants,” he said. “We could’ve built a wall, when they first came here. We didn’t have to help them.” Barber said he represented the United American Indians of New England. “We believe in human beings and accepting everyone as equals.”