On Saturday, June 30, the "Families Belong Together" marches took place in cities in the United States. Celebrities, humanitarians and activists flooded New York City, Washington, D.C. and other cities to protest against the family separation policy imposed by the Trump administration. The video of America Ferrera's "Families Belong Together" Marching speech she held in Washington, D.C., is particularly powerful. In addition to her own words, she read the words of a letter from someone struggling to unite with his children under the "zero-tolerance" strategy.
In the speech, she pleaded with the crowd to imagine for a moment that they would stand in the place of one of the families torn apart by the present government. "What makes people remarkable is our ability to introduce themselves," said Ferrera. "We have an imagination ̵
Ferrera, born in Los Angeles, is the daughter of immigrants from Honduras. As part of her speech, the actor and activist then read a letter from a man who was trying to sponsor his granddaughter. "When I read these words from a grandfather struggling to be with his granddaughter again," Ferrera turned to the crowd. "I want you to imagine that this is your child – that you're that grandfather."
She went on to explain that as she read his words, the names for both of her protections were changed. Watch the video of Ferrera's speech on the "Family Train" March.
"I am Teresa's grandfather, currently imprisoned at the Shiloh Residential Center," Ferrera began reading. "I currently live in a duplex apartment in Oakland, CA. I work every day as a food vendor." The actor continued reading the heartbreaking letter:
"I want to be a sponsor [because] she's my granddaughter and I'm her grandfather." "I spent a lot of time with Teresa when we both lived in El Salvador I came to the US when she was five years old, and I have since helped to financially support Teresa and her mother. "
Then Ferrera paused to gather. "I think I would be a good sponsor for Teresa," she read, "Because I want to take care of her" – here broke the actor's voice for the first time – "And I can do it." She continued:
"A home examiner came to my home in February 2018. She asked me a lot of questions and let me do a lot of paperwork, and I got the impression that the local historian did not think she had made enough money To support me financially. "
At this point, Ferrera paused again before continuing. "I know I do not make much money, but I'm doing enough to take care of Teresa," Ferrera continued, "All I have," and here the actor was swallowed again, "I'll give her. " Unfortunately, the letter did not have the happy ending that most would hope for.
As the actor went on to write, the letter painted a grim picture of the reality of government policy. The letter concluded:
Since [the home investigation] I have not heard anything. When I approached the social worker at the Shiloh Treatment Center, she told me that the Refugee Relocation Office rejected my application.
Then gasped, the crowd boiled, and a chorus of "shame!" Chants broke out. Ferrera kept going because the last words were perhaps the most important ones.
"[The ORR] told me they were going to take Teresa over to another place, and the last time we talked, she told me she was feeling desperate, and I told her not to lose hope, and that's just waiting for it What the government says about me Please remember these words and Teresa: Please do not lose hope. "
Ferrera was not the only celebrity to speak at a" family march "since Alicia Keys and Lin-Manuel Miranda also made powerful speeches. Miranda even sang a lullaby he wrote specifically to reassure children separated from their families. Let's hope that the literally dozens of marches taking place on Saturday will bring about real and lasting change for all.