A massive crop of celebrities headed down to Tornillo on the Mexican-American border on Sunday to protest against the US’ draconian immigration laws, which last week saw children forcibly separated from their parents and detained in cages in separate detention centres.
After the disgusting policy sparked a massive public outcry, Donny signed an executive order on Wednesday putting a stop to the family separations, but did not wind back their zero tolerance border control policy, which sees the Justice Department criminally prosecuting offenders.
The celebs protesting outside a child detention facility – including Lena Dunham, Sia and Amber Heard – posted a whole lot of content to Instagram, urging their followers to donate to Voto Latino, a civic media organisation aimed at empowering Latinx people to get involved with grassroots activism, co-founded by actress Rosario Dawson. Voto Latino organised the Sunday protest, which was originally titled #StopSeparation, but changed to #EndFamilyDetention following the change in government policy.
Dunham and her Girls showrunner, and Lenny co-founder, Jenni Konner, pledged to match $10K of donations, while Sia went as far as offering up $100K.
Speaking to Buzzfeed News, who were at the protest yesterday morning, Dunham said: “I’m here cause this is a humanitarian crisis and it’s deeply important that we as Americans stand up and say ‘This is not who we are, this is not what we believe in, we do not believe in the separation or detention of families.’“
We came to Tornillo, Texas, to show our solidarity with the families who have been separated, the children who are alone, the parents who are grieving and the undocumented Americans who are losing more than I can fathom. Thank you, Tornillo, for showing us a warm border welcome and reminding us that together we rise. Thank you @amberheard @constancewu @vancityjax @jennikonner @bellathorne @dani_thorne @elsamariecollins @mirasorvino @ioneskyelee @angeliquecabral @ktqlowes @caseyrosewilson @travon @wynter @kendrick38 @therealannacamp @skylerastin @siamusic
The busload of celebrities, which also included Bella and Dani Thorne, Connie Britton, Mira Sorvino, Joshua Jackson and Constance Wu, reportedly arrived just after 9am, joining hundreds of other protestors dressed in white. They had flown together in a charter flight from LA to El Paso, 48 kilometres away.
Britton told Buzzfeed: “I’ve just been really horrified by the reports I’ve been hearing by what’s happening at the border. I kind of reached a moment this week where I was like ‘I need to go see for myself.’“
Heard wore a ‘Si, me importa. Y a ti?‘ – translation: ‘Yes, I do care, do you?‘ – shirt to the protest, in a big ‘Fuck you’ to the disturbing ‘I REALLY DON’T CARE DO U?‘ jacket Melania Trump wore to visit detained children on Thursday.
Heard, who grew up in south-central Texas, told Buzzfeed: “I was literally and figuratively raised by and with immigrants in my home and heart and life. Trump’s policy of enacting institutionalised trauma and human rights abuses in order to push a political agenda, at best – at worst, out of apathy – and I can’t support it.”
TY so much @lenadunham for inviting me on this moving journey of bearing witness at the border. Tho they would not let us pass through, knowing that those children were there on the other side of the barbed wires, in a desert where the heat was easily over 100, made me want to fight even harder to #EndFamilySeparation @votolatino @peoplefor_
It’s been reported that the actors, writers, musicians who attended – aside from activist Rob Reiner – did not address the crowd at the event, leaving it instead to local activists and politicians, including Mexican civil rights advocate Dolores Huerta.
You can head on over to the celebs’ pages for heaps more footage of the protest itself, including rousing chants of “Free our families, free our children,” and “People united, we’ll never be divided.“
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Image: Instagram / siamusic