Immigration advocates hosted an event that brought about 60 people to Asbury United Methodist Church in Harrisonburg on Saturday. The workshop focused on immigrant rights and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency – or I.C.E. - in the Shenandoah Valley. WMRA’s Calvin Pynn reports.
[Jaime Miller Gonzalez and Melvin Lopez playing “A Desalambrar” at the event]
The song you’re hearing roughly translates to “tear down the fence.” And that set the tone at Asbury Methodist Church on Saturday. This was the first event in a campaign F.U.E.G.O. has launched to discourage local police and business collaboration with I.C.E., and encourage the community to peacefully resist the agency’s operations in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County.
BORIS OZUNA: We want them to exercise their power in order to defend their neighbors, and people that belong to our community as well.
That’s Boris Ozuna, the lead coordinator for F.U.E.G.O., which stands for “Friends United for Equity and Grassroots Organizing.” The main function of Saturday’s gathering was to strengthen local rapid response networks and educate the community about the effects of immigration policies.
OZUNA: It’s taking these two steps: steps about the history of migration and systemic racism in this country, and protecting our community and those who are at risk here.
A paper banner showing the history of U.S. immigration policy spanned the room, where people could share where their family’s stories fit in that timeline. Later, they formed a human chain while chanting “we shall not be moved,” or, in Spanish:
[Crowd chanting “we shall not be moved” in Spanish]