#WeBelongTogether Youth to Trump: ‘We Are Not Afraid of You!’

A boy stood in front of the White House before the #WeBelongTogether rally, holding a sign depicting a blindfolded Lady Justice unable to see the child trying to get her attention. "Do you not see what they are doing to us?" Lauryn Gutierrez/Rewire
Multiple generations of immigrant families and advocates gathered at the White House to stand against family separation by deportation. Lauryn Gutierrez/Rewire
Two children played in the park outside the White House prior to the youth-led event. Lauryn Gutierrez/Rewire
To kick off the rally, a guitarist led the children in song, singing "Hola, Amigo!" and "This Land is Your Land" in English and Spanish. Lauryn Gutierrez/Rewire
Children listened to the crowd around them sing, "this land was made for you and me." Lauryn Gutierrez/Rewire
"I am a proud daughter of a domestic worker who was taught to treat everyone with kindness and respect," said Leah (in yellow), 11, of Miami. Of her fear of separation from her mother should her mother be deported, she said, "It is like when someone you care about can die at any moment."

"I will be put in foster care if she gets deported. No child or family should have to suffer like me. [Immigrant and Customs Enforcement] and Trump do not care about us. Why can't I enjoy just being a kid? I cannot even sleep or do my homework. All I can think about is my mother being taken away from me," Leah said. Lauryn Gutierrez/Rewire
"I am not asking for any favors from Mr. Trump. It is my right as a human being to live without fear and stay with my mother. I demand respect, love, and protection. ¡El pueblo unido, jamás será vencido!," said Leah (pictured in previous photo). Lauryn Gutierrez/Rewire
Luna (center), 12, and her brother Roberto (right), 10, spoke of how their mother is currently residing in a church in Denver, Colorado, for sanctuary from deportation. Both children fear their mother, Jeanette Vizguerra, will be taken away from them.

"I just get mad, because Donald Trump is making the wrong decisions. Why is he doing all this? Why is he wanting to build a wall?" said Roberto. "We're not different at all. We're the same—we're all human beings. We're not some different types of animals."

"It's not fair for children to live in fear, or for parents to not be able to be with their children, because families should be united," said Luna.
Lauryn Gutierrez/Rewire
"We're all going through issues in our own communities today," said Thomas, who served as a co-host of the event. Speaking about the lack of investment in their schools, and the criminalization of his friends, he said, "In my school in Miami, Florida, there's a school-to-prison pipeline. It causes kids to be criminalized, put into the criminal system, and sent to jail, away from their families." Lauryn Gutierrez/Rewire
Amariyanna “Mari” Copeny, 9, known to the world as "Little Miss Flint," spoke about her work standing against the environmental injustice ravaging her city: "It has been 1,084 days since we've had clean, safe water."

"I wrote a letter to then-President Obama. Not only did he write me back, but came to Flint to meet me. President Trump also came to Flint. I met him. He was not so very nice to me at all. He didn't even let me ask one question! Later on the campaign trail, he promised that he would fix Flint. Unfortunately, this was one promise that he failed to keep. One promise he's made sure to keep is to build his wall. Trump is tearing families apart with his polices on immigration, and us kids are here to tell him 'No More! We belong together!'

She encouraged the children gathered to never give up on speaking out. "We are not just the future, we are the present as well!" Lauryn Gutierrez/Rewire
Mwewa Sumbwe of Zambia represented the UndocuBlack Network, a multigenerational coalition of Black undocumented immigrants.

"Black immigrants are three times more likely to be detained and deported as other immigrants—another example of how Blackness is criminalized in this country, and how anti-Blackness permeates our immigration system," Sumbwe said.

President Trump, she continued, has waged war on immigrant communities "since day one by dehumanizing us and threatening our very existence."

"We're in a state of emergency. Our families and communities are being targeted, incarcerated and deported," said Sumbwe. "I am here because I believe the threats against our communities warrant the leadership of these kids!" Lauryn Gutierrez/Rewire
"When I am in school, I don't feel safe when I say the Pledge of Allegiance, especially when it says 'liberty and justice for all,' because this doesn't include my family, and I am afraid that [ICE] will separate me from my parents," said Heather, 8, of Maryland. Lauryn Gutierrez/Rewire
Andrea Mercado, campaign chair of #WeBelongTogether, thanked the youth for participating in the caravan. "Your leadership is exactly what this country needs."

Mercado continued, "It has been an honor to witness the collective courage of young people and kids who are standing up for the kind of nation that we need and that we deserve." Lauryn Gutierrez/Rewire
Rally attendees gathered in a circle to unfurl a parachute emblazoned with the word, "WE BELONG TOGETHER" outside the White House.

"We're here today to look at that White House and stand up for our families, friends, neighbors, and communities," said Mercado. Lauryn Gutierrez/Rewire
Indigenous children, surrounded by the rally goers, danced in front of the White House in an homage to the people of the First Nation. Lauryn Gutierrez/Rewire
Before the rally ended in a joyful, hopeful mood, Thomas (center) led those gathered in a chant: "We belong together, as family, friends, and neighbors. We are part of one story, connected and stronger each day. The future belongs to us, together we are unbreakable!" Lauryn Gutierrez/Rewire

On Thursday, April 13, 40 children and youth from seven states—including Colorado, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, and Virginia—gathered in Washington, D.C., with the We Belong Together Kids Caravan. As Rewire Immigration Reporter Tina Vasquez explained on Thursday, the four-city tour “forces the public to bear witness to youth of colors’ fears around immigration.”

“I live with the fear of being separated from my mother every day,” said Leah, 11, of Miami. “We don’t have to destroy communities only because Trump says so. That is why I’m here in front of the White House with the #WeBelongTogether Kids Caravan. I want to tell Mr. Trump that he is a bully, and no matter how mean he is or how hard he tries, he will never break our spirit! We are strong kids and youth, and we are ready to protect our families just as they protect us every single day. We are not afraid of you!” (Rewire is not using the last names of the children in this slideshow due to privacy concerns.)