Families Belong Together & Abolish ICE Protest at Stewart Detention Center, Lumpkin, GA
Thousands of protesters assembled in over 600 locations, city parks and detentions facilities, across the United States. Indivisible Columbus Georgia, a local democratic organization, organized a group protest and march outside the Stewart Detention Center, home to nearly 1,900 detainees, outside Lumpkin, GA. The assembly was also supported by local organizations, related to immigration, and El Refugio, an Atlanta non-profit that currently supports illegal immigrants detained at Stewart.
Roughly eighty protestors joined Indivisible Columbus outside the entrance to the Stewart Detention Center. For obvious reasons, County and State law enforcement did not allow the protest to enter beyond the main gate.
The crowd was diverse in age and gender, but mostly white. Immediately, by viewing signs and hearing chants, there was a clear ideological difference between the younger generations and the older crowd that appeared to fill the leadership positions of the organizations behind the protest.
Bernie Sanders' democratic socialists are spreading, especially amongst millennials, which is one of the major variables why Hillary Clinton lost the full support of the Democrat Party in 2016. The older, more moderate liberals in the party, like the leadership of the Stewart Detention Center protest, are apposed to the farther left, young socialists.
At the Stewart Detention Center protest, a young group of protesters began chanting "no borders, no nations, no deportation," and holding signs that reflected the chant, including other calls to abolish the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and "DUMP TRUMP." Fortunately, the chant didn't last for long.
Fortunately, the leadership grabbed the loud-speaker and took control of the assembly, beginning to read more literature and invite others from the crowd to make statements. To someone not paying attention, the transition would have been unnoticed or just a coincidence. It was deliberate and illustrates the continued rift on the left.
The "no borders, no nations, no deportation" crowed declined to be interviewed by our reporter. In short, the young democratic socialists wanted to know our ideology before accepting the invitation. After declaring our ideology as Catholic several times, they took a look at The Daily Knight website, mumbled amongst themselves, and slithered away.
Not all comments were completely out of the political norm. Several protestors spoke against private prisons, previous times the U.S. government detained a specific demographic of people, and the need to reform immigration policies.
It is not clear if these protests will make a major impact on the political situation. The guards at the Stewart Detention Center, including Stewart County Sheriff Deputies, said the same groups organize an immigration protest each year. It was confirmed by the legal council for El Refugio, who was happy to answer our questions, stating that the turnout was no different than previous years. This statement may only be relevant to Columbus, GA and not nationwide, since hundreds of protests were held today.
In the end, it was great to cover a safe and peaceful protest. The State Police were pleased that there were no issues with the protest and greatly appreciated us thanking them for their service and wishing them a Happy 4th. They don't get thanked enough.
As we move forward from the Families Belong Together and Abolish ICE protests of June 30th, it will be interesting to see the development of the protests, if organizations continue to assemble or not, and if democratic socialists continue to grow in prominence and in number. Will the older, moderate liberals be able to hold back the socialist tide? Not sure, let us know what you think.