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Hundreds join DACA march in downtown Holland
Calidreamer posted a topic in Local ActionThe march began at Hope College and ended with a rally at city hall on Tuesday. Roberto Jara marched for the dozens of of kids he has worked with, who have been recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Act. Jara, executive director of Latin Americans United for Progress in Holland, was joined by about 200 Hope College students and community members from Holland as they marched to city hall and rallied to advocate for the implementation of a clean DREAM Act and immigration reform in the U.S. The DREAM Act stands for the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act and is legislation that would protect undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. The march started at Grove Point in the middle of Hope College’s campus at about 11 a.m. Afterwards, marchers rallied inside Holland City Hall and listened to a number of speakers, including Jara and Mayor Nancy DeBoer. “We need to call for our legislators to be leaders and make America great once again,” Jara said at the rally. “What really makes it great is that we have open arms and that we are welcoming and that we welcome people from all over the world. That’s what makes America great.” Attorney General Jeff Sessions made an announcement on Sept. 5, declaring the Obama Administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, “an unconstitutional exercise of authority” that must be revoked. Congress has until March 5 to come up with a legislative workaround to replace DACA partially or entirely. Marchers chanted, “No hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here,” and “Hey, hey, ho, ho DACA students are here to stay,” as they made their way through downtown Holland. Members of the women’s protest choir Persisterhood joined the march and chimed in their own singing at points. Jocelyn Gallegos, a sophomore at Hope College and president of the Latino Student Organization, helped organize the rally and said it’s important to inform people of what the DREAM Act would do. “The DREAM Act is a segue to citizenship for all these people, who have so much potential and have so much to offer the country as a whole,” Gallegos said. Alejandra Gomez Limon, a senior at Hope College who helped organize the march and spoke at the rally, said it’s important to give people a platform to advocate as well as educate others. “I hope this is going to be a kickstart for what’s to come and it allows us to see how to go forward,” Gomez Limon said. “We have the six month deadline with DACA and this is really to get the movement started.” Amari Brown, a freshman at Hope College, attended the march and rally with Hope College sophomore Brandon Fuller. Both said they attended the events to show suppport for DACA recipients. “I hope it brings attention to the issue,” Brown said. “The worst thing that could happen at this point is for people to forget or stop thinking it’s important. We need to keep making noise then legislators will hear that and make the necessary changes.” DeBoer said the publicity from the event and the large turnout will make people pay attention to the cause. Other speakers at the rally included Cady Short-Thompson, provost at Hope College, and Rev. Gordon Wiersman, a co-pastor at Hope Church. Short-Thompson said we are all immigrants and shared stories of how the DACA rescindment has impacted the lives of recipients from an article published by the Los Angeles Times. Wiersman said the community will have to come together with dignity and respect to welcome everyone. “Part of what I want to say, as a person of faith, is that things like justice, hospitality and human dignity belong at the center of our political dialogue rather than fear and division,” Wiersman said. Jara became emotional while speaking at the rally and said this is not the America he grew up in. “I had my share of discrimination, but I knew America’s ideals and I knew this is my home,” Jara said. “Since last November, when I talk to kids I see the hopelessness in their eyes because they feel they are living in a country that hates them and hates their family.” — Follow this reporter on Twitter @SentinelJake. Source: http://www.hollandsentinel.com/news/20171101/hundreds-join-daca-march-in-downtown-holland