Over the past century, the city of Berkeley has become synonymous with fervent protests and passionate political activists. When troops were sent into Vietnam in the ‘60s, the city was flooded with students and community members crying for an end to the senseless violence. Last February, UC Berkeley was set aflame during violent demonstrations in response to Milo Yiannopoulos’ scheduled campus talk. Although these protests have brought a critical eye to the city, this attention has never stopped the citizens of Berkeley from standing up and taking action when they see injustices in the world.
So it came as no surprise when, last Saturday, approximately 1,500 people — from infants in poster-adorned strollers to grandparents in slogan-printed shirts — came out to the streets of Berkeley to show their discontent with President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy. It was just one of the many “Families Belong Together” protests that took place that day across the nation.
Halfway through Trump’s term, this poignant display of activism is a reminder to the more than 40,000 students and faculty members at UC Berkeley that now, more than ever, it’s crucial to remain active, to keep fighting for what’s right. What’s so powerful about being at UC Berkeley is its history of activism and the platform it provides for students to create change in their community. Despite the current administration’s egregious actions against immigrants, it’s the effort and work of grassroots organizations and students that give the rest of the country hope for the future.
The shocking images and clips of children locked behind cages, kids crying out for their parents and families being torn apart at the border are the reasons this particular issue has become so personal for so many people — it is a jolting reminder that, when Americans vote for certain politicians, their children run the risk of being reduced to nothing more than political pawns.
But at the “Families Belong Together” protest in Berkeley, children weren’t just game pieces being exploited by Washington to carry out a political agenda; they were on the front lines of the protest. They marched bearing handwritten posters, calling on the president and his cabinet to stop their inhumane actions against kids — kids who look like the marchers and who deserve the same opportunities, even if they don’t have the privilege of being raised in a city like Berkeley.
What this protest in Berkeley has made abundantly clear is that it’s imperative to remember the power of political action, no matter how small it may be. No voice is too small to speak, and no administrative order is to too big to tear down. If 1,500 community members can incite so much change, imagine what 40,000 could do.
Editorials represent the majority opinion of the Editorial Board as written by the opinion editor.