Several hundred supporters of DACA recipients braved cold temperatures and gray skies overhead late this afternoon to hear speaker after speaker call for protections for young people who were brought to this country by parents whose children have never known another home other than the United States. The “Vigil for Dreamers” – an event hosted by the Moral Movement Maine – included a visit by AG Janet Mills, a strong advocate of protections for DACA recipients as well.
“This is a Vigil for Dreamers, but let’s be clear…We’re not only here for Dreamers. We’re here for their parents! We’re here for those who’ve lost Temporary Protected Status! We’re here for refugees who have been under attack! We’re here for asylum seekers! We are here to say NO to xenophobia in every form – NO to xenophobic aggression and oppression – no to racism and nationalism for all New Americans and we are here to say that NO NEW AMERICANS should be used as bargaining chips for a border wall or targeted deportation or increased defense spending or anything else,” said Rev. Allen Ewing-Merrill, of HopeGate Way and Moral Movement Maine, in his introductory remarks to the Vigil at Congress Square Park late this afternoon.
Thew Elliott, a musician, led the Vigil participants in song in between inspiring speakers.
In a particularly compelling statement, Rabbi Joshua Chasan, Bend the Arc, said in part: “..who are we as a people that we would force the Dreamers to live month after month after month under threat of deportation? Are we that cruel?……The fact is that the majority of Americans support the Dreamers. 69% of Republicans polled support the Dreamers. It is not we the people who are cruel, but leaders of our government…..Only bigots cannot see that the Dreamers personify the best of who we are as people…….Persecution of the Dreamers is racism. Leaders of our government have mainstreamed racism, such that many Americans, including reporters for traditional media, do not appreciate that the continuing threat to deport Dreamerss (and many others) is the cruel and vicious consequence of shameless racism…..For the Dreamers embody the promise of living our lives without fear; each of us created equal, endowed with certain inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Rev. Tamara T. McGovern, Woodfords Congregational Church, offered a prayer, in part:……”And so we pray for the Dreamers and their families that they might continue to live and grow and enrich this community. And we pray for our legislators, that they might use the power and privilege conferred upon them by all of us, to keep our community whole, including both those of us born here and those of us from away……so that all people have the ability to fully live their dreams.”
Please see previous post herein for more background information on Moral Movement Maine. Also, please see post herein dated January 1, 2018 in which Moral Movement Maine was named this blog’s inaugural “Person of the Year – 2017.”