July 4, 1776, marked the historic day that a group of American colonists declared their independence from an oppressive regime, the British Empire. After their declaration, the rebellious new country realized how important it was to protect the rights of citizens to protest, march, criticize the government and organize in resistance, so, when they began laying the tenets of their new democracy, the Founding Father ensured that those actions were protected by law.
However, those great American leaders were not alone — they were aided by immigrants. Alexander Hamilton, our first secretary of the treasury, and Marquis de Lafayette, a major Revolutionary War general, are just two major examples. From its start, immigrants were an integral force in the development of our nation.
Fast-forward to the present day: to an America filled with immigrants and people of all nations. A beautiful blend of cultures, backgrounds and perspectives, the immigrant population and their future generations have worked to shape and continue to improve the country we live in today. Still, like it did back in the days when Alexander Hamilton was working to free America from Great Britain’s reign, part of the people’s involvement in bettering the country requires marches and protests to express discontent with the government’s actions.
Starting with the historic Women’s March, which took place the day after President Donald Trump’s Inauguration, dissenting demonstrations have become an important way for the American public to vocalize the outrage and frustration they feel concerning the actions of the current White House administration.
The far-reaching effects of Trump’s zero-tolerance policy in regard to illegal immigration have recently sparked ire in Americans throughout the country. Due to the harsh, crackdown nature of the policy, large numbers of children are being separated from their parents or guardians and held in detention centers. Photographs of children confined in cages have spread through the media like wildfire, enraging the people of the United States and prompting them to take a stand against cruel governmental actions.
The situation brought to light the line between legality and morality, with the idea that that line has been crossed in a significant way. Putting forth measures to control illegal immigration is a tricky issue, but handling it by separating parents or guardians from their children is unconscionable.
This past weekend, Americans organized the “Families Belong Together” March, in an effort to come together and voice the immorality of the immigration policy’s repercussions to the White House. At least one march occurred in every state, showing that Americans all over the country are united in their fury regarding the outcome of the zero-tolerance policy. At least 50,000 Americans were present at the march in Washington, D.C.
One of the protesters was “Hamilton” star Lin-Manuel Miranda, who performed a lullaby dedicated to the parents or guardians who have been separated from their children. “We’re not going to stop until [the parents] can sing [lullabies] to their kids again,” he said, standing firmly in opposition to the government’s actions. He sang while sporting a Puerto Rican flag shirt, showing how proud he is of the immigrants in his family who brought him where he is today.
Miranda has effectively rewritten a tale from the past to educate modern generations about an immigrant who was integral in the construction of our country. He continues to relentlessly show his support for immigrants and their families, who are key in shaping the future of America and ensuring that the immigrant narrative is still strong as the United States evolves.