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Organizers: Family separations march draws crowd downtown

In solidarity with demonstrations across the country, an overflow crowd filled downtown Medford Saturday to voice its opposition to Trump administration policies that separate undocumented immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Families Belong Together rally drew “over a thousand people” to Vogel Plaza, along with the other three corners of Central Avenue and Vogel Plaza, according to Oregon District 2 Indivisible founder Jessica Sage. Indivisible organized the rally with Unete Center for Farm Worker Advocacy and the Rogue Valley chapter of the social justice advocacy group Unite Oregon.

Sage relayed similar statements from Oregon senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, who oppose the zero-tolerance immigration policies rolled out in early June, which Sage called a “travesty.”

Merkley’s statement, for example, used the welcome message on the Statue of Liberty as a contrast.

“But over the past several weeks, the world has watched America turn its back on those words and shut the golden door under the Trump administration,” Sage relayed from Merkley, adding that families have been met with “inhumane cruelty” at the border.

As of early Saturday afternoon, more than two dozen signs with messages such as “End Family Separations” and “Love Trumps Hate” had been taped to the outside walls and windows of Republican Rep. Greg Walden’s Medford office.

“It’s been heart-wrenching to see the stories of desperate parents who have no idea where their children are,” Sage said. “Greg Walden is part of the problem because he’s doing nothing to bring families back together.”

The organization is working to channel the energy at the rally into local Democrat candidates’ campaigns, according to Sage. At the very least, she encourages people to make sure they’re registered to vote.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat.

Jessica Sage (submitted photo taken by Gary Roberts)