Courthouse Square to host Juneteenth celebration on Friday

Families Belong Together rally planned for Courthouse Square on Saturday

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New details have been released about the Families Belong Together rally set for Courthouse Square in Redwood City this Saturday, including that Charlotte Willner — who along with her husband, Dave, launched a viral fundraiser that has raised over $20 million to support separated migrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border — will be speaking at the event.

Also, Congresswoman Anna Eshoo is set to attend the Redwood City rally to share her experience from touring detention facilities in Texas, along with actions being taken by Congress.

The rally, scheduled from 10 a.m. to noon at the square at 2200 Broadway St., is being held in solidarity with the national Families Belong Together Day of Action, where rallies and marches across the nation will call for an end to the separation and detention of immigrant families.

The local rally is a grassroots effort that began in an online messenger thread between Whitney Black and Giselle Hale, who both serve on the Redwood City Education Foundation board. They registered the event with the national movement organized by MoveOn and then quickly began building a team that represents a broad base of support for the immigrant community across San Mateo County. The local rally features a long list of “co-hosts” from city councils and other public agencies throughout the county.

Hale, an active member of numerous local organizations, a Redwood City planning commissioner and also a candidate for City Council, said the effort to oppose and change President Donald Trump’s immigration policies is fundamentally about “love of country and family.”

“At the core of who we are as Americans is our love of country and family,” Hale said. “From the border to our neighborhoods, we must not only ask ‘where are the children’ but how we as residents locally stand up against a federal government forcibly breaking up families.”

The national immigration debate heated up after the Trump administration imposed a “zero tolerance” initiative against illegal entry in the U.S., which led to passionate opposition across the nation against the separations of children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Last week, a pressured President Trump signed an executive order to end the process of separating children from families, but the president said he would maintain a “zero tolerance” policy of criminally prosecuting all adults caught crossing the border illegally, in order to bolster national security.

This weekend’s Courthouse Square rally aims to proclaim that detaining families is “not a solution, it is a jail sentence,” adding those fleeing violence and poverty “must be protected and safe.”

“Our demand is clear and not negotiable: Trump’s policies of separating and detaining families must be stopped indefinitely and families must be reunified,” according to the Facebook e-vite.