Juneau, AK (KINY) - A Families Belong Together rally was held at the Capital School Playground in reaction to the families that are being separated from their children at the Southern US Border.
Hundreds gathered to let their voices be heard and continue to ask that such acts be ceased. Featured speakers included Ernestine Hayes, Tasha Elizarde, and more. The rally also served as a fundraiser for the Alaska Institute of Justice and the League of Women Voters were there to help people register to vote.
We talked to Mayor candidate and Executive Director at AWARE Saralyn Tabachnick and Representative Justin Parish about the significance of the gathering.
Tabachnick says that this sort of treatment of families is entirely preventable.
"What's happening at the southern border is awful. Children being taken from parents is very traumatic. These are mostly mothers and they are mostly fleeing violence, often domestic violence. There is such harm being done and it is 100% preventable. It's unconscionable that this is happening in this country, our country."
She was told as a young girl that events like the Holocaust could happen again.
"I'm a Jewish person, I grew up in Pittsburgh and as a little girl I remember being told that the Holocaust could happen again and when it does it would likely be in the United States. I remember that."
"It was present, but not in the front of my mind."
"This country has a history though of separating children from their mothers. We've seen this with children of slaves, with the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII, and with Alaska Native children taken from their homes and sent to boarding schools."
"It's happening again."
Parish also talked about Alaska's past, but humbled by the support shown at the rally.
"I was blown away by the level of participation and by how many people came to stand out with us in the rain in solidarity with families who are going through something that to most us is impossible to imagine."
"Of course, being an Alaskan and in my case being an Alaskan politician there is a degree of added poignancy from the fact that Alaska has a history of separating children from their parents. It's not something we look back on with pride; it's one of the most tragic chapters of Alaskan history."
"To see it playing out on the national level is just heartbreaking."