RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A large and diverse crowd rallied Monday evening in attempt to make Richmond a “true sanctuary for all” people.
Latino, black, Muslim, LGBTQ+ individuals and others from Richmond gathered at the federal courthouse building in Richmond for the rally.
Organizers told 8News they aim to send a message to local, state, and federal governments that they stand solidarity and to protect the people who call Richmond home.
“I think immigrants are an integral part of America,” said demonstrator Brandon Duong. “My parents were refugees from Vietnam, so this is a close issue to me. What we want is protection and tolerance for undocumented immigrants, refugees, for everyone.”
Another demonstrator, Elvis Contreras, told 8News it was the first time he’d ever participated in any kind of rally. He said he felt so strongly about the issue at hand that he could not stay on the sidelines.
“My father was an immigrant coming here. I’m first-generation born and raised here,” Contreras said. “As American people, there’s a lot of people unhappy with what’s going on. We need to see change.”
In a release about the event, organizers said Richmond leaders have the responsibility “to protect its residents by adopting local policies to address the persisting issues of policing, state violence, and racial justice.”
According to the release, these policy changes include, but are not limited to:
- A separation of local law enforcement and immigration enforcement
- Policies that de-criminalize and reduce arrests
- Adopt and enforce directives against profiling, demand respectful treatment of people who are transgender/gender nonconforming
There’s also a petition circulating online calling Mayor Levar Stoney to step up in response to President Trump’s executive order.