‘Families belong together’ vigil held at courthouse

200 hear prayers and music

T-R PHOTO BY MIKE DONAHEY Approximately 200 attendees, many wearing “Families Belong Together” T-shirts, packed the south side of the Marshall County Courthouse Saturday for a peaceful vigil protesting immigration policies which separated children from their parents at the United States-Mexico border.

With signs reading “Fix your heart,” “God have mercy on the USA,” and “Families belong together at the dinner table,” concerned residents gathered on the south side of the Marshall County Courthouse Saturday at noon. Their mission: Hold a peaceful, one-hour vigil to bring more awareness to a national debate about immigration policies.

Specifically, the policy of separating children from their famous at the U.S.-Mexico border and elsewhere.

Major newspaper and media outlets have reported the practice recently with some children — many of them Latino and unable to speak English — confined in sometimes secret camps and hundreds of miles from their parents.

“I believe in the cause … keeping famous together,” Marilyn Schools of Marshalltown said. Schulze, is now a busy grandmother since she has a summer break from her role as a para-educator with the Marshalltown Community School District. “It is wrong to separate children from their families.”

Dennis Scrivner of Marshalltown echoed Schulze’s comments.

“I am here because I want to support these families that are being separated,” he said. “I think it is wrong, and it bothers me watching it on television. My wife and I have both cried about it. My wife is extremely interested it … we belong to Hope United Methodist Church (of Marshalltown) and they have the JFON — Justice for Our Neighbors — going on. My wife is involved with that. These folks need a lot of help, and we are going to give them the support they need.”

Remarks were given by vigil organizer Steve Adelmund of Marshalltown, a student attending Iowa State University in Ames, Rev. Alan Thoreson, Joa LaVille of the local Immigrant Allies, Maria Gonzalez also of Immigrant Allies.

“I am undocumented,” said Gonzalez. “I am a DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) meaning there is much uncertainty in my life … my husband is a U.S. citizen, I constantly fear being separated from him and my two children. It has broke my heart to see this nation separate children from parents.”

Jen McClung, singer,songwriter, and poet, led the group in song.

Sol Varisco of Iowa’s Justice for Our Neighbors, and Ashlyn Ruiz, Marshalltown High School student also spoke.

The 99-Iowa, a group holding a 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Bible reading on the north side of the courthouse, invited those attending the vigil to read the Bible or listen. Their invitation was repeated throughout the hour-long event.

“They have asked me to invite anyone to read the Bible or listen to the readings after our event,” Adelmund said. “We think that is pretty cool, considering this all about keeping families together … and love.”


Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or mdonahey@timesrepublican.com