'Families Belong Together' Rallies Aim To Give Visibility To Hispanic Communities

Jul 5, 2018

A child at the Salt Lake City Families Belong Together rally
Credit Tamsen Maloy

In response to the Trump administration’s family separation policy, at the end of June, a California judge ruled border separations must stop, and families must be reunited. In cities across the United States, many residents think this ruling is good but doesn’t do enough for families and migrants.

The Salt Lake Families Belong Together rally was just one of many in the nation last Saturday. Activist groups and concerned Utahns gathered on the steps of the state capitol carrying signs, singing songs and chanting things like “Abolish ICE!” Some people wore silver blankets like the ones children had at detention centers.

The rally included several speakers and a group of children singing the Mexican folk song La Llorona—a song about a woman who has lost her children. The song has become a regular feature at rallies against family separations at the border.

Lizette Cruz spoke at Logan’s Families Belong Together rally. She is the community liaison at The Family Place and migrated to the United States from Mexico when she was three years old.

"I don’t remember it, but how they got here was they swam through the Rio Grande and I was on the shoulders of my uncle," she said. "That’s the story that I know, but this has always been my home."

Cruz and her family obtained legal status when she was 12. Now, her work at The Family Place enables Cruz to do outreach within the Hispanic community.

"Within the community outreach I do," she said, "I’ve done a lot of immigration informational nights, I’ve done nights where we get a lawyer and they fill out their resident’s application. We’ve worked a lot with the Mexican consulate."

Cruz said she also does fun outreach events like Zumba and cooking classes to help the Hispanic community feel welcome and valuable. She said this helps immigrants cope with the fear of being separated from their families.

"Everyday it’s a struggle," she said. "Everyday it’s traumatic to them because they don’t know what will happen. If they’ll be pulled over, if ICE will come, we don’t know."

Cruz said besides amnesty for migrants who entered the U.S. illegally, the best thing for the community would be the freedom to do other things—such as getting a driver’s license—without it triggering a call to ICE.