I owe this post to Frances Ansley who contacted me with an invitation to join an immigration rally in Krutch Park this past Monday morning at 10:30 AM. Of course, I was at work, so I couldn’t attend and Frances took it on herself to get Chris Crass, one of the organizers of the event to send me photographs and a brief write-up of the event.
The focal point of the event was to send a message about the pain caused to families by the current system and to ask for support for changes in the immigration laws. We seem to be as close as we’ve come in a long time and this was a chance for supporters to continue the pressure on Washington.
I’ve written about immigration issues before, as they’ve come up for discussion in Knoxville. Probably my most complete essay on the subject may be found here and it was written a year ago this month. Since then, of course, Republicans have increasingly decided something must be done and if they are ever to win another national election, they should probably get on board. And a number of them have.
As is often the case with such events, several groups with overlapping interests joined together The event was sponsored by the Allies for Knoxville’s Immigrant Neighbors (AKIN) and East Tennessee Families United for Immigrant Rights, but they were joined by members of the Jobs for Justice, Interfaith Worker Justice, Progressive Student Alliance and members of various local Unitarian Universalist churches. In Chris’ words, they came together to “demonstrate our support for immigrant rights and justice, dignity and equality for all families.” The choice of Father’s Day week was not a coincidence.
After a time of testimonials to the damage currently being done to families, the group walked from Krutch Park to the federal courthouse. Inside the lobby they met “with staff members of Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker.” Three representatives of the group entered the offices of John Duncan, Jr. to press their case for “why we want Tennessee representatives to stand strong for immigration policy based on justic and dignity for all, rather than criminalization and racism.”
It’s a complication issue for many people and I understand that. At the same time there are many shocking facets to the laws and the enforcement of the laws. I’d really encourage you to read the post I linked above, but just as an example, one of the cycles we’ve established in this country is the privatization of prisons. The companies that run them are among the loudest advocates (and best funded) for stronger enforcement – because it makes them money when more people are imprisoned.
So, that’s two protests in two days in Knoxville – last Sunday at St. John’s and then Monday in Krutch Park. Of course, there’s another one coming and I’d like you to join. You can find the FB event here for the Sunday morning protest of the pending demolition of 710 and 712 Walnut Street. Please join the 30+ who say they will try to attend. Also, if you haven’t already, please sign the petition to stop the demolition if you haven’t already. Over 400 people have done so.
Yes, it appears it’s going to be a long, hot summer. Let’s work together to make it a good one.