More than 300 people gathered at the usual Five Corners spot to rally for families and reformed immigration policies. Organized by Sarah Nevin of the Martha’s Vineyard Peace Council, and in conjunction with the rallies nationwide today, signs, chants and car honks filled the busy corner.
“I want to be clear that this is not a ‘hate Trump’ rally,” Nevin told the Times. “This is a ‘keep families together’ rally.”
Saturday’s #FamiliesBelongTogether rally was part of a national effort to bring attention to President Trump’s immigration policies. It also comes on the heels of Laiza Cimeno’s successful return to Martha’s Vineyard after a visa issue in Brazil, and a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that went in favor of Vineyard immigrant Wescley Pereira.
The Island relies heavily on foreign workers to meet the demands at hotels and restaurants during the busy tourist season. In recent years, limits of H-2B visas and J-1 visas have hamstrung Island businesses, which struggle to hire enough help on-Island.
Alida O’Laughlin of Oak Bluffs said she marched on Washington in 1963, and heard Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech: “[After that], you think the world is normal and progressing year after year, and then we find ourselves here again.”
Nevin summarized the meaning and purpose of the rally by saying, “This is a country of immigrants, and you do not treat parents and their young, young children as criminals. You can’t.”
George Brennan and Caroline Brehman contributed to this story.