Supporters of DACA, the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, marched September 5 in protest of President Trump’s decision to phase out the program in six months, in an event organized by Richmond Peace Education Center and Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy.
“We’re here to defend our community, we’re here to defend DACA,” said Lana Martinez of the Virginia Interfaith Center.
The event began at 7 p.m. at Abner Clay Park, where speakers from sponsoring organizations made brief remarks before inviting community members to share their stories. The rally’s speakers emphasized many undocumented people have to be cautious in revealing their status publicly.
Police were present at the duration of the rally and subsequent march and vigil.
“When we look around here, we see Richmond Police,” Martinez said, adding that there was a lack of police presence at the Women’s and Science marches earlier this year. She said the fact that DACA is relevant to a large number of people of color has led to racial profiling by police.
Around 100 participants began to march towards Broad Street at 7:25 p.m. Families, including some small children, attended the march.
Members of the crowd had different, sometimes personal, reasons for marching.
“[Ending DACA is horrible and cruel to people who are here working hard … there’s no logical reason for it,” said Sharon Richardson, who attended the march.
A. Diaz, who asked not to be identified by her first name, is the daughter of an immigrant.
“We have to keep strong and we have to unite,” Diaz said.
A brief moment of tension between several protesters and police was resolved by one of the march’s organizers, as police asked the participants to move onto the sidewalk at the corner of 8th and Broad Streets. The protesters complied, beginning a candle-lit vigil.