MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Rather than escape the sun and the heat, an estimated 7,000 people (according to Minneapolis Police) embraced the hot weather downtown to let their voices be heard.
“This is democracy, this is what it looks like,” said participant Joe Jullie of Eden Prairie.
“There’s a whole lot we need to do to with America to get it back right and make it fair and justice for all,” said participant John Surrency.
Groups representing several causes were united over the idea that immigrant parents shouldn’t have their children taken away at the U.S.-Mexico border. The rally/march, named “Keep Families Together” and “Free Our Future,” focused primarily on the recent separation of families happening due of the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy. They also want to make sure those same families are reunited.
As thousands gathered outside the Minneapolis Convention Center, the march began at 2 p.m.
Near the front on top of a truck bed was a cage, representing where immigrant children were placed once separated from their families.
Organizers blocked traffic, sometimes leaving drivers waiting 10 minutes or more before they could pass through an intersection. Others marching carried around spray bottles to help people cool off in the sweltering heat.
A three-mile march was the plan, crossing over light rail tracks before stopping outside the Hennepin County Jail. Organizers said it’s a place where families have also been torn apart with some people being deported.
But as they looked in the distance at the seemingly never-ending crowd, they’d never felt more united.
“I saw all my brothers and sisters going around the corner and it brings so much joy, so much happiness to see everybody in solidarity just sticking together and fighting together,” said Yunuen Avila after giving a speech to the crowd.
The convention center was their finish line, but those marching say the push for change will keep going.
Organizer Emilia Gonzalez Avalos said people need to be, “willing to build the nation, the great nation that we all believe in. And we have to build together.”