After some San Diego businesses closed their doors on Thursday to participate in the nationwide “Day without Immigrants” strike, another pro-immigrant movement took place locally on Saturday.
At 11 a.m., a group gathered at Waterfront Park in downtown San Diego for a rally ahead of the "Immigrants Make America Great March," a demonstration in support of immigrants and refugees.
The event began with a rally at Waterfront Park, followed by a march to the Edward J. Schwartz Federal Office Building. Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher and San Diego City Councilman David Alvarez gave speeches at the event and then the march continued through downtown San Diego.
Demonstrators held signs with phrases such as, "No Ban, No Wall, Sanctuary For All," and "We Love Refugees."
One of the organizers of the march, Mohamed Abdallah, told NBC 7 that by marching he felt like he was sending a message to President Donald Trump.
“I’m a Muslim immigrant in this country; I’ve been here for many years. Seeing what’s happening right now is really taking a toll on all of us -- on me, the Muslim [community], the country, all over,” he said.
“We really have to make a difference, we have to stand together to tell Trump that we are here to stay, we are welcomed here, and that is what makes our country great,” Abdallah added.
The same sentiment was echoed in Monica Morelli, a mother who brought her two little ones to the march. She told NBC 7 that even though she is not personally being affected by Trump’s executive orders, she still believes in supporting other families.
“When I see families torn apart, that’s very hard because I imagine how it would be to be taken away from my children. So, I think it’s important to stand up even though we are not personally affected,” Morelli told NBC 7. “I would love to see San Diego become a sanctuary city. I would love to see Trump’s actions be stopped.”
The march brought out people from all backgrounds, including Army veteran Robert Andrews.
“I’m a California veteran. Thirty-seven years in the Army flying helicopters, and fought for my country in Vietnam,” Andrews told NBC 7. “Now, I feel like I am fighting for my country for the freedom to be fought for.”
“I feel like I should get out and protest, instead of staying at home and watching other people do it,” he added. “It’s my responsibility to stand up for our country, and this president is not standing up for our country.”
Another Immigrants Make America Great March was also held in Los Angeles.