A small crowd of passionate local activists rallied and marched in Olympia Friday evening to bring attention to federal immigration policies.
Specifically, the “Defund Hate” event aimed to carry a message that Congress should cut funding to immigration enforcement agencies.
Among the roughly 20 rally attendees was State Rep. Beth Doglio, D-Olympia, who offered opening remarks before the group marched up Fifth Avenue Southwest from Heritage Park to wave signs at a busy roundabout.
“I think it’s really important for people to continue shining a bright light on the Trump Administration’s policies,” Doglio told The Olympian. “He’s making terrible decisions with very significant consequences.”
One person wore a sign with the words “Melt ICE” around her neck; another activist hoisted a sign reading “Brown Is Not A Crime!” while passing cars honked in support.
The event was organized and attended by members of Olympia Indivisible, the local chapter of a national progressive activism and lobbying organization. As of Friday, there were 21 events planned across the state this week as part of a “Defund Hate Week of Action,” according to an Indivisible spokesperson.
Carolyn Barclift is on the steering committee for Olympia Indivisible and led the organization of Friday’s event. She said the group held a similar rally and march earlier this year with an “Impeach Trump” theme.
Barclift said she originally got involved in Olympia Indivisible for the same reason she was an officer with the Olympia Police Department for 30 years.
“To stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves,” Barclift said, and to educate and help people.
She said the local organization now has more than 700 members.
For march attendees Jon and Lisa Ceazan, the issue of immigration is personal. The couple said they used to live in Los Angeles, where Jon owned a business.
Jon Ceazan said ICE agents raided his business about six years ago and arrested one of his employees. He said that employee, who had a wife and child, contacted him from the border just a day later.
“I don’t like how they operate,” he said.
Lisa Ceazan said she used to work with Salvadoran refugees when they lived in California.
“I just think it’s ugly what the Trump Administration is doing, and that’s why we’re here to protest it,” she said.
Olympia Indivisible member Joni Brill gave a simple answer as to why she showed up Friday evening:
“I have a heart,” she said. “I care about human beings,” before pointing out that most of the march attendees were of a certain age bracket.
“We’re in a crisis situation,” Brill said. “Old people — we remember when there was democracy in America.”