A local transgender rights group is sending a message to lawmakers about the immigration crisis. The ‘We Exist’ Coalition says they’re rallying to give a voice to the hundreds of immigrant families and children.
It was a strong message coming from the steps of Niagara Falls City Hall Saturday.
“We need to have compassion, dignity and as much bravery,” said Angela Burnham, a leader with the We Exist Coalition of Buffalo.
She says people need to have compassion for the thousands of children separated from their parents at the border. She says she wants to help speak up for people she says can’t speak for themselves.
“As a veteran this isn’t what I fought for. This isn’t what I wanted for my country,” said Burnham.
Saturday’s rally was initially to focus on the anniversary of Title IX, but organizers decided to switch gears.
“We are and always will be primarily a transgender rights group organization but we have to stick up for others too, we have to stick up for what’s right what’s decent,” said Burnham.
Their message — “We Care” — is a response to First Lady Melania Trump who wore a jacket that read “I really don’t care. Do you?” while traveling to visit a facility housing immigrant children.
Similar rallies were held in Seneca falls and New York City Saturday afternoon.
The We Exist Coalition is calling on lawmakers to pass an immigration bill.
“We have to put our foots down and say this not okay,” said Burnham.
President Trump signed an executive order earlier this week. The Trump Administration says it keeps families who illegally cross the border together.
But Burnham says the damage is already done.
“These children are going to have to carry around what’s happening in these places for the rest of their life, even after it ends,” said Burnham.
Reps for First Lady Melania Trump have said there was no meaning behind her jacket.
The White House says about 500 kids have been reunited with their parents. But there are still questions on how the more than 2,000 children will be reunited with their families.
A vote on a compromise of an immigration bill was postponed until week.