GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Dozens of activists gathered in Grand Rapids Friday to protest the challenges they say unfairly plague the immigrant community.
“I want people like me to know that our position of privilege comes with a responsibility to help those who need help,” said protester Mike LaRowe.
LaRowe and the other protesters met around noon near Lincoln Park on Bridge Street NW in the John Ball area.
Many of the demonstrators decorated their cars with signs to take part in the vehicle parade. Some of them read, “Immigrants are essential workers, too” and “Immigrants make America great.”
Some protesters said they are fighting for their loved ones and giving a voice to undocumented immigrants who can’t speak up.
“We all deserve a chance, ” said protester Maria Roberto. “We’re all human; we all bleed the same.”
Several of the protesters are part of Movimiento Cosecha, which is a group that draws attention to issues facing the immigrant community.
Demonstrators told News 8 they’re calling on lawmakers and those in position of power to adopt some type of legislation to allow immigrants to have drivers’ licenses among other government benefits.
“I wanted to shame other white people into behaving in the moral upstanding way that a lot of people think that they do,” LaRowe said.
Officers with the Grand Rapids Police Department were present at the event. On Thursday, GRPD said officers would work to ensure people can peacefully express their First Amendment rights in a public forum while maintaining safety and access to essential services like hospitals.
The department also reminded people who do not need to leave their homes for work or essential needs should follow Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home order.