Submitted by Rebecca Coll
More than 500 people joined together in front of Glen Rock’s municipal building last night to call for an end to cruel family separations and to show love for immigrants and asylum seekers at the Rally for Humanity in support of #FamiliesBelongTogether.
“I know it seems that times are dark, but we must take stock of reasons for hope. This rally, this beautiful outpouring of support for immigrants, is one of them,” said one of the event’s speakers, Kate Jerome, an advocate with ACLU PeoplePower, New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice and Indivisible. “What we are doing is working and we must keep up the fight.”
Immigration lawyer Carolina Curbelo, the daughter of Cuban refugees, told the crowd that she’s had a flurry of phone calls from her worried clients, but also noted that employers have been reaching out to her too, asking how they can help their employees. Sally Bruno, of the refugee charity One World, One Love, said that it’s critical that immigrants today, regardless of status, receive support from their community.
“A lot of immigrants, regardless of their status, are scared. They’re scared to leave their homes, they’re scared to go to work, they’re scared to get on a bus, on a train,” Bruno said. “Calling our Congressmen is so important. Rallying, demanding change from our leaders is critical, but so is showing up on a social level and showing [immigrants] on a day-to-day basis, that we’re here for them, that we see them, we accept them, we love them, they’re part of our community.”
Myra Herbst Genn, a Holocaust survivor and educator whose father was murdered by the Nazi regime, said that images of “families torn apart” made her reflect on her own childhood. She noted that she, her mother and her aunt survived because a courageous Christian family took them in and hid them in an attic. “I hope to see compassion, courage and strength to stand up for justice in our community, our government and our nation at large,” Genn said.
The rally, which was emcee’d by Glen Rock After the March organizer Erica Danziger, also included remarks by Dr. Arati Kreibich, the first South Asian American elected to the Glen Rock Borough Council, and student activist Harnoor Sachar; a poetry reading by voice-over actress Khristine Hvam; and musical performances by children from The Village School and Bobbie la Day. During the event, attendees donated to One World, One Love and filled out postcards for the Let’s Drive NJ campaign, which urges the expansion of driver’s licenses to qualified drivers in New Jersey, including undocumented immigrants.
The rally was co-sponsored by Glen Rock After the March, Women For Progress, Women of Action ‐ Fair Lawn, Ridgewood JOLT, Ramsey PINS, Teaneck Women Together and NJ5 Coalition. Videos of the event are available under the “videos” tab of the NJ5 Coalition Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/NJ5Coalition/