June 30, 2018 story: Marchers gather in Willmar in support of families staying together
WILLMAR — More than 100 people, young and old, gathered at Fifth Street Southwest and Becker Avenue Southwest in Willmar Saturday morning to march in support of families being separated at the border or being kept apart by the travel ban upheld by the Supreme Court this week.
"This is not about open borders. This is about opening our hearts," David Moody, a march organizer said. "It is important we are all given a chance."
The "Welcoming to Who We Are, Faith Not Fear" march was organized by members of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Willmar and ISAIAH.
Hamdi Kosar, one of the march organizers, said people can't stay silent. They need to stand up for each other.
"We need to stay connected to our humanity. We need to cry, and cry together. Then get up and fight for our humanity," Kosar said.
The march was just one of dozens being held across the nation on Saturday. According to media reports there were more than 620 sister rallies planned in all 50 states.
"I am very inspired by this," said Jed Bendix. "Glad we have people who have a heart in this community and are willing to show it."
The marchers walked throughout downtown, holding signs and banging drums. Parents with young children in strollers or strapped to their chests took part.
"Everyone deserves to have a fighting chance in this country," Emily Field said.
Some of the youngest marchers got up to speak in support of families.
"I think families should not be separated from their parents. I think it is wrong," said Hailey Fadness, 9.
Those who marched said there were a few individuals in vehicles along the route who seemed to not agree with the march, but there was no organized counter-protest.
The march ended at the Chief Kandiyohi statue by the Kandiyohi County Courthouse, a fitting ending point for some, saying the Native Americans have been fighting this battle to feel welcome in this country for hundreds of years.
"We have to stand with our citizens and others coming over. We need immigrants. Without them our country doesn't get enriched," said Lynne Cason. "We need to show them compassion."