This May Day, Athens for Everyone was proud to stand in solidarity with our undocumented neighbors who are targeted by the detention and deportation system. A4E joins the Athens Immigrant Rights Coalition (AIRC) and Dignidad Inmigrante en Athens (DIA) in the call to end to all deportations. We marched together through the streets of downtown Athens on May 1st.
Beto Mendoza, lead organizer and Coordinator of the AIRC, said before the rally that “Deportation is a cancer in our community. It has never made our neighbors safe, it has never reduced violent crime in our city, and it has never brought new jobs or improved our economy. Deportation has only helped politicians get elected. It has only created hate in our community. We will stand up alongside our families and neighbors and say ‘Not One More Deportation!’ Not One More kid crying in our schools or our streets because their parents have been arrested right before their eyes at 5am!”
The Athens Anti Discrimination Movement (AADM) was also in attendance in solidarity with AIRC, A4E and other local organizations. According to Pres. Knowa Johnson, AADM believes it is important to show support to families and individuals who find themselves in dire situations where government involvement causes turmoil.
The rally started on Prince Avenue and, led by 20 children, proceeded through downtown with stops at the UGA Arch and the courthouse. 150-200 people attended. The march ended in a celebratory mood, with the children all receiving presents and a dance party breaking out on the steps of the courthouse.
Commissioner Melissa Link and Board of Education member Ovita Thornton were among those who attended the march. When asked what the local government could do to help families affected by deportations, Commissioner Link said, “We need to have open and honest conversations with our Sheriff and other law enforcement officials.” She mentioned two upcoming town hall meetings with Chief Freeman, one on May 9th at Gaines School Elementary and the other on May 11th at Chase Street Elementary. Both town halls are from 6:30-8:00pm.
Thanks to Wade Sheldon Photography for the photos!
May 2, 2017