More than 200 children and teens came together in front of the White House on Thursday to protest President Donald Trump's immigration policies, among other issues impacting their communities, as part of the "We Belong Together Kids Caravan."
The caravan started its journey last week from Miami, making stops in Atlanta and the Raleigh-Durham area in North Carolina, but some of the kiddies made treks of their own from New York, Ohio, Michigan, Colorado, Maryland and Virginia as well.
Many of the young people, toddlers to 19-year-olds, were directly impacted by deportations and family separations.
Elena Marquez, 17, spoke about her father, who was deported back to Guatemala for driving without a license. "When my dad was here, he would pick us up from school. He would [cook] dinner when it was his turn. … My mom here is all alone [but] she tries to do her best," she said.
The son of Jeanette Vizguerra, an undocumented mother who recently sought sanctuary inside a Denver church, also discussed his frustration with Trump’s policies.
“I just get mad because Donald Trump is just making the wrong decisions,” Roberto, 10, said. “Why is he doing all this? Why is he wanting to build a wall…we’re not animals just because we’re different."
(Photo Credit: Steve Pavey/Hope in Focus)
These are the young Black and brown people on the front lines of the anti-Trump resistance, and here is why they believe you should join them.
Maurico, 14, New York: My parents don’t have papers, and I don’t want them to be deported because I won’t have no one to take care of me.
Charlene, 16, Florida: If our parents are deported, then what are we going to do? We go into the foster system, which is a pretty bad system, because they don’t do nothing correctly, because everything is just messed up. School is not helpful to us and we don’t have our parents’ support, so we end up doing illegal stuff on the streets that take us to prison. He’s supposed to be making America great again, and that’s just not the way to do it.
Dynalie, 8, New York: I’m out here to change the world. I want to make countries better and make better food and make good water. Kids want safety in our world.
Mari, 9, Flint, Michigan: The water is bad. Fix our water.
Lucas, 8, New York: I want to help fight for the immigrants and help fight for their moms and dads. It’s a very important thing. Your parents are a very important part of your family. You don’t want to lose it.
Kat, 14, Florida: Everybody should be treated equal. Just because we’re of a different race doesn’t mean it’s right to deport them, to send them away from what they’re used to. This is the next generation.
Jaslene, 8, North Carolina: Some of my family are from Mexico, like my mom or dad, and I’d feel very upset and mad and frustrated if they had to leave. It’s not good, and he’s doing bad things to kids. I mean, he has a son, right? He should get it.
Destiny, 11, New York: We’re here for the unity. Let’s say there’s kids that want to be in a place and they can’t because they’re an immigrant – that’s not OK.
Dibrian,13, New York: Younger kids, young adults, know it’s wrong, and we’re not scared to speak up.
Rod, 15, New York: Kids and teens voices also matter.
Krystel, 19, New York: Kids, especially the ones who are younger, don’t understand 100 percent of what’s going on, but they do feel what their parents are feeling.
Nayahuari, 7, New York: Grown-ups are not the only people who should be speaking up. It should be everyone.
Miguel Joseph, 12, New York: I think kids need to be here because when kids get involved into new things, people actually start caring. Like, if there’s a big fight going on and somehow a kid’s involved in it, it’s going to get into people’s hearts – it’s going to affect them mentally and emotionally.
Carlos, 15, New York: Teens and children have a big role because some companies target teens and children, and if we feel like we need to boycott them because of something racist, then it would be worse for their profit.
Stela, 5, Florida: Kids can change the world.