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Jose Perez of the immigrant activism Boston May Day Committee said the proposed immigration policies by the president were unjust for undocumented immigrants.
“Let’s all stand together in solidarity with the working families who are seeking refuge from violence and a better life for their children,” he said in a speech translated from Spanish. “No human being is illegal.”
Earlier on Friday, UNITE HERE Local 26 union members, including Northeastern University dining hall workers, walked out of their jobs in protest during Trump’s inauguration. Students from Huskies Organizing With Labor (HOWL) joined Northeastern workers in the walkout.
Northeastern dining hall worker Heidy Barreiro برنامج للاسهم السعودية , who also spoke at the rally on the Common, said she walked out during the inauguration because Trump’s proposed immigration policies would unfairly treat undocumented immigrants.
“Workers at Northeastern went on strike in support of immigrant rights because we’re a part of this society and this country’s economy,” she said in a speech translated from Spanish. “We are a strong union, we are in the fight and we are going to continue to struggle against Trump’s negative policies.”
Tiara McGuire, a junior creative writing major at Emerson College, commended Northeastern students for participating in the walkout and said young people need to unite to prompt change.
“Trump can be defeated if we organize this resistance into a powerful mass movement,” she said. “Building a powerful united movement to stop Trump means not being afraid to openly demand what our communities need to live just, healthy and dignified lives.”
Protesters expressed frustration and fear regarding the new Trump presidency.
“My biggest concern is that the hateful rhetoric he’s been spewing will worsen the culture we have and make people more comfortable with attacking minorities,” said Alvin Merlos, a senior English major at the University of Massachusetts Boston.
Scituate resident Elizabeth Stokes said Trump’s “America First” policies would be detrimental to the country.
“I don’t want us to be isolationist. It’s not who we are,” she said. “We need to have empowerment […] maybe this is just what we needed. We can’t get complacent. I’m really amazed that we’re finally doing something.”
As the two-hour protest came to an end, activists began laying out the next steps in what they saw as the beginning of a mass movement against Trump, capitalism, the two-party system and bigotry.
“This is just the beginning,” said Spencer Brown, an activist with Boston Democratic Socialists of America. “Looking around, so many of us are already here, and we will keep coming. And there will be more of us.”
Photo by Alex Melagrano