Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Protest against national emergency declaration draws hundreds at JFK Building

Hundreds protested against President Trump’s national emergency declaration on Feb. 18. Photo by Flora Li / Beacon Staff

Hundreds of people rallied in front of the John F. Kennedy Federal Building on Feb. 18 against President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to build a border wall between the United States and Mexico.

Speakers from several social intercultural organizations and representatives of immigrant families delivered speeches to oppose immigration isolation under the Trump administration, and called for increased human rights for immigrants.

A coalition of 16 states, including Connecticut and New York, filed a lawsuit against Trump on Feb. 18 which challenged the president’s national emergency declaration.

Li Adorno, a member of Movimiento Cosecha, an organization that organized the rally and promotes the protection of immigrants, said coordinators of the protest invited groups from all over the New England area to rally.

“It’s in Boston and it’s cold, but I think we have a good turn out. It shows that people do care,” Adorno said.

The temperature reached about 30 degrees Fahrenheit at 4 p.m. and wind mixed with snow blew hard on participants. However, only about 100 people stayed until the end of the two-hour-long rally.

Vernon Walker, a participant from Philadelphia who studies in Boston, called the national emergency declaration unethical.

“We are sending the message to the political authorities that the mass doesn’t agree with this,” Walker said.

Andre Bennott spoke for the Essex County Community Organization, or ECCO, which includes a number of immigrants and people of color who suffer from strict immigration policies, Bennott said. As a permanent U.S. resident who immigrated from Jamaica, Bennott said he had been arrested for immigration-related issues.

“It’s ridiculous what happened to immigrants in this country … and that is the main reason I am here tonight as a representative from ECCO,” Bennott said.

Bennott said he enjoyed seeing people care about immigration issues, and felt energized by people who found hope in his speeches.

“People know that I, as a person, may not have the answer to fix the issue. But my standing with them provides them with hope,” Bennott said. “It tells them that they are not alone in this fight, and that gives me a sense of accomplishment.”

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