It’s Sunday, January 29th, 2017. Yesterday, Donald J. Trump signed executive orders banning immigration from seven predominantly muslim countries in the name of national security. Last night hundreds of travelers were caught in the midst of a nonsensical, poorly executed, and poorly communicated policy shift. Many of these weary international travelers were detained, treated like criminals, and separated from loved ones. The fear must have been visceral for those families. Thankfully, the America that we recognize rose up. Lawyers brought legal action and the people filled the airports and the streets of our cities in immediate and passionate dissent. They still haven’t gone home.
This afternoon, our family participated in a protest near the Federal Building in Peoria, IL. It was cold outside, but it is not really a time to be concerned about being comfortable. The world seems to be turned upside down and all that we value as Americans is at risk. We must make a stand. Together we rise as a nation. We resist through protesting in the streets, a public witness of our commitment to the principles of a welcoming and free America. We hope our actions give our politicians the courage they need to act on their own consciences. State and federal legislators, if you stand up — we will stand behind you and beside you. We, in Peoria, are not urban by most standards. We are not on the East or West Coast — we are teachers, farmers, machinists, office workers, librarians, restaurant owners, etc. We are everyday Americans in the so-called “flyover states” saying, “No ban, no wall — it is love that conquers all.”
We are all the children of immigrants.
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
– Emma Lazarus
Jacqueline F. Gauthiér
Photography by Christopher, Jacqueline and Caleb Gauthiér