Parish children rally for change

By Joanna Puddister King
CANTON – On Aug. 11, just days after many children of immigrants felt the ultimate fear of never seeing their parents again, the children of Sacred Heart parish rallied and prayed for change on the historic Canton courthouse square after the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids on Wed., Aug. 7 rocked six Mississippi communities.

Signs carried by the children as they marched included messages of fear and reform. Two young girls carried a sign that read, “I will not sit in silence while my parents are taken away.” Another young boy’s sign read, “Immigration should not be only for the rich! We need change,” a message that resonated with 18-year-old Dulce Basurto-Arce, who spoke on the courthouse steps.

“It is very difficult to come to the United States legally,” said Basurto-Arce. “Most of the families who come here can’t afford the process to come in legal(ly). In today’s society becoming legal is only for the rich. . . . We are all humans. We all deserve the same opportunity. It should not be a crime to work for a better life, a better future for their kids. Something they didn’t have back in their country.”

The event lasting about one hour included laps around the courthouse with pauses for prayer, refection, song and unity. The crowd of about 100 were out to show their support and love, some having signs of their own – “Migration is an act of courage.”

For the final lap, Mary Hicks, a young adult who organized the event, called for those present to march for change and hold hands with some of the children who were now missing a parent.

In closing, Hicks thanked the crowd for their support and then spoke directly to the kids. “I want y’all to look out at all of these people that don’t have any idea how you are feeling, but they are out here to support you in this hot sun, in this heat. They are out here because they love you and they care about you.”

Through tears, Hicks continued, “And I know that there is a lot of hate out there in the world, but these people care about you. And there are a lot more that care about you, so know that you are not alone.”