A Sudanese mother who adopted five orphans from her war-torn country and a veteran of Boston's busing crisis stood alongside US Sen. Ed Markey and Congressman Joe Kennedy III on Tues., Feb. 21, as they pledged to confront the president's immigration
agenda and other Trump administration actions.
With Congress in recess, the Democrats spoke at a Downtown Crossing locale nearby pivotal spots where Bay Staters rejected the British yoke, undermined the federal Fugitive Slave Act and enshrined marriage equality into law - a geographical fact referenced by the state's junior senator.
Standing steps from a monument commemorating the Irish Famine, which spurred migration from the island nation to Boston, Markey noted the proximity of other sites of historical significance as he urged the crowd to "fight" the agenda of President Trump.
"It was here just three blocks away that the American Revolution began, rising up against tyranny, against discrimination," Markey claimed. Speaking to reporters after his speech, Markey endorsed emulating "peaceful revolutions" that came about through public activism.
Trump's plan for a wall on the southern border would not reduce illegal immigration, according to Markey, who said cooperation with the Mexican government and immigrant communities in the US would be a better approach.
The rally occurred after reports that the Department of Homeland Security would target for deportation a broader swath of the
immigrants who are in the country illegally. US Rep. Joseph Kennedy used the occasion of the rally to have a conversation with a young girl in Spanish. He said the new Trump administration policy "targets children the same way it targets hardened criminals."
The president has said he took action to protect the public from terrorism, and he wants to build a wall to help enforce existing laws barring unauthorized entry into the country.
Non-politicians who joined the speaking program told stories about their struggles with ethnic strife. Sadia Mohamed, a Chelsea resident who is the mother of six, including five orphans she adopted, told reporters she came to the United States in 2008 from the Darfur region of Sudan, the scene of what is widely recognized as a genocide perpetrated by government-backed forces.
Sudan is among seven Muslim-majority countries that Trump had targeted in a controversial executive order barring travel by non-citizens to the United States. The order was subsequently blocked by federal courts.
Mohamed is a naturalized citizen who works at Logan Airport as a wheelchair assistant, according to a spokesman for 32BJ SEIU, a union working to organize airport workers. Four of Mohamed's children are also citizens, one has a green card and another is in the process of obtaining a green card, according to the union.
"Massachusetts will persist, but when necessary we will resist, and we will be a special place," Markey said.