Rally to spotlight immigration justice in Northampton’s Pulaski Park

  • Pulaski Park in downtown Northampton FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 9/8/2021 9:44:20 AM

NORTHAMPTON – The High Holy Days are the most sacred time in Judaism, and in between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the group Jewish Activists for Immigration Justice of Western Massachusetts will be hosting an event Sunday to draw attention to issues of immigration justice.

“It feels really important to me,” said Alice Levine, a founder of the group. “My passion for social justice has always been tightly rooted in my Jewish identity.”

The event at Pulaski Park, which will start at 1:30 p.m., will update people about what is happening with immigration under the administration of President Joe Biden. Shofar blowing will occur, and there will be a ritual that will highlight some of the names of those who have drowned trying to come to the United States.

The event also is highlighting The 45,000 Quilt Project, which honors the number of people detained on average daily by ICE in 2019. The quilt, which Jewish Activists for Immigration Justice of Western Massachusetts has contributed a square to, is a traveling exhibit and will be displayed at Edwards Church from Sept. 11 through Sept. 16 from 2 to 5 p.m. Multiple groups contributed squares to it.

Jewish Activists for Immigration Justice of Western Massachusetts has contributed two text panels to the exhibit at Edwards Church, one of which ties current immigration issues to Jewish history and the other which gives 2021 context for immigration justice issues.

Levine said that her group looks to make connections between Jewish history, and social justice issues affecting other groups, both historically and currently.

Levine said immigration issues remain important even with former President Donald Trump no longer in office

“The numbers of people in detention are down somewhat,” she said.

However, she said a reason for this is that many immigrants are not being let into the country.

Levine also said that the number of unaccompanied minors arriving at the border has increased due to the Biden administration being more lenient about letting in children. Levine said that families want to get their children out of bad situations, and she said that improving policies for families applying for asylum would alleviate the number of unaccompanied minors.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.

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