Protests nationwide this past weekend drew attention to immigrant rights and showed support for families separated from their children at the southern border. The city of Rockford hosted one of these demonstrations.
Nearly one thousand people marched in high temperatures Saturday morning. Participants drew attention to a number of issues, including children in detention centers and voter registration, but some also shared their own stories of immigration.
Des Plaines resident Rosa, who chose not to give her last name, marched alongside her daughter in Rockford. Rosa said she immigrated alone when she was sixteen from Guatemala from the U.S. for a chance at the American dream.
“All those illegal immigrants, all they ask is a chance to work hard and prove that they are good people, escaping a lot of trauma and bad places,” she said.
Her white sign read “I am a worker, not a criminal.” She had tearful message for the children held in detention centers.
“It's gonna work out. It’s gonna be fine. Just hang in there ‘cause you guys are good kids,” she said.
Organizer Victoria De La Rosa, whose family came to northern Illinois from Mexico, said that injustice and inhumane treatment of immigrants has been happening long before the zero-tolerance policy came about.
“I think that it opened the eyes of our country as a whole and made everyone say, 'This is happening here, in my country, and this is not the country that I want. This is not the country that I know,'" De La Rosa said.
Demonstrators chanted lines like “Don’t mourn-- mobilize” and “Immigrants are welcome here” as they marched from City Hall to the U.S. District Court.
Marches were also held in Elgin and Chicago.