Immigrants & Supporters Have a right to Peaceful Demonstrations without fear
The following statement can be attributed to Roxana Rivera, Vice President of 32BJ SEIU, the largest property service union in the country.
As one of the nation’s largest unions with majority immigrant membership, we are sickened by ICE and prison guards’ dangerous and harassing behavior toward peaceful Jewish and immigrant protestors and their supporters at a “Never Again Now” protest at Rhode Island’s For-Profit ICE Detention Center. What began as a powerful and inspiring day of action against Washington’s inhumane and illegal detention and family separation at our nation’s southern border quickly devolved into an atmosphere of fear and trauma when a prison officer drove his truck into a line of peaceful, praying protestors, including three minors.
This reckless behavior is not only dangerous, but it recalls recent incidents of hate against peacefully-assemblying black, brown, immigrant people, and religious-minority protestors, including when a white supremacist drove his car into a crowd in Charlottesville, killing a young woman and injuring several others. It also recalls the troubling police pattern of shooting and killing black men and women, inspiring the black lives matter movement. With the Trump Administration fueling racist and anti-Semitic hate and dehumanization of black, brown, immigrant and religious minority communities, this country is growing increasingly unsafe for our most vulnerable friends and neighbors.
The United States is supposed to be a democracy, and our constitution gives us all the right to peacefully assembly and make our voices heard. Law enforcement has no right to shut down our voices through violence. We will persevere. As long as Washington continues to hurt our communities, rip children from their parents arms and throw them into unsafe and dangerous conditions in horrific detention centers, and fuel racism and hate, we will fight back!
With over 175,000 members in 11 states, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property services union in the country.