×

Hundreds flock to Greenfield in protest of Trump’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy

  • Ben Grosscup performs a song using words from the poem on the Statue of Liberty as hundreds gather on the Greenfield Common for the “Families Belong Together” rally Saturday afternoon, June 30, 2018. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

  • Hundreds gather on the Greenfield Common for the “Families Belong Together”€ rally Saturday afternoon, June 30, 2018. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

  • Hundreds gather on the Greenfield Common for the “Families Belong Together”€ rally Saturday afternoon, June 30, 2018. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

  • Hundreds gather on the Greenfield Common for the “Families Belong Together”€ rally Saturday afternoon, June 30, 2018. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

  • Hundreds gather on the Greenfield Common for the “Families Belong Together”€ rally Saturday afternoon, June 30, 2018. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

  • Hundreds gather on the Greenfield Common for the “Families Belong Together”€ rally Saturday afternoon, June 30, 2018. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

  • A family walks across the Main Street intersection carrying protest signs to join the hundreds gathered on the Greenfield Common for the “Families Belong Together” rally Saturday afternoon, June 30, 2018. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

  • Hundreds gather on the Greenfield Common for the “Families Belong Together” rally Saturday afternoon, June 30, 2018. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

  • Hundreds gather on the Greenfield Common for the “Families Belong Together” rally Saturday afternoon, June 30, 2018. Recorder Staff/Dan Little



Recorder Staff
Saturday, June 30, 2018

GREENFIELD — In conjunction with hundreds of rallies in all 50 states, people flooded the Town Common Saturday to show they have no tolerance for President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.

Hundreds of people occupied the Main Street park during the afternoon for the “Families Belong Together” rally, spilling into the streets with signs reading “Love Trumps Hate” and “Trump, you tore them apart. Reunite families now!”

The demonstrators were primarily protesting a tenet of Trump’s zero-tolerance policy that separated undocumented adults and children from the same families when detained by U.S. immigration enforcement.

The family-separation policy, implemented in April, has since been ended, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan. However, it is unclear how many detained children have yet to be reunited with their parents.

“We hear, ‘Somebody save us, somebody do something,’” Mary Malmros shouted to the protesters. “But no one is named ‘Somebody.’”

People driving by honked their horns and waved in approval at the protesters, who passionately took part in the event largely backed by MoveOn.org.

Malmros, standing near a sign that read “Abolish ICE,” told the protesters they need to do two things: “change the composition” of the legislature and show up for important activism.

“We need people who will stand up, pick a hill and die on it,” said Malmros, specifically criticizing U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, D-Springfield, and endorsing the opposing candidate for Neal’s seat, Tahirah Amatul-Wadud.

Dena Marger carried around a sign with many anti-racist slogans like “No KKK,” and likened the current attitude of Americans toward undocumented immigrants to that of Germans toward Jews before the Holocaust.

“My family is Jewish and I have relatives who perished in the Holocaust,” Marger said. “We have to ask, ‘At what point in Germany should people have spoken out?’ It’s important for people to come out. By the time Germany did, it was already too late.”

Marger said America is becoming fascist, that “the signs of fascism are all there.”

Mark Whatley, also holding a sign, was specifically angry that the policy of separating children from their families was ever enforced.

“There’s no excuse for putting children in cages,” Whatley said.

One woman, who only wanted to be identified as Catherine B, stood next to Whatley and said there are other policies in addition to the zero-tolerance policy that should be changed in the country.

“I’m deeply concerned about the actions at our border,” she said. “But it’s also the bail bond system.”

She continued: “If we really want to be the just country we say we are, then we need to change these policies.”

The protesters came with much fervor Saturday, at the same time thousands flocked to Washington, D.C. in support of the same causes, but they also came with hope.

Local musician and activist Ben Grosscup was one of those who got the crowd’s spirits up.

With his acoustic guitar, he stood in the middle of the Town Common and began to strum and sing.

“We will rise as one,” Grosscup sang, while one-by-one the demonstrators joined in.

Reach David McLellan at dmclellan@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 268.