Immigrant rights advocates are calling on supporters to join with neighbors, friends, and family this weekend at "community cookouts" across the country, with the aim of raising funds to help the hundreds of families who still need to be reunited after having been separated by the Trump administration.
The national group People's Action is leading its member organizations to organize cookouts in dozens of towns and cities.
This weekend, families are hosting community cookouts to support reunification of children & families separated at the border. Find out more & sign up to host one!: “Join Us To Show Who We Love, And Who We Are” by @GeorgeGoehl https://t.co/EGmOLD0bWL #FamiliesBelongTogether
— Ai-jen Poo (@aijenpoo) August 1, 2018
The cookouts come as communities across the country are coming face-to-face with the effects of Trump's hardline immigration policies.
"Julie Duhn organized a rally of about a dozen people in her hometown of Eldora, Iowa," wrote People's Action director George Geohl at Medium last week. "Eldora is in Hardin County, home to the sole jail in the state to serve as an ICE detention center. Nearly three out of four beds in the jail are reserved for ICE detainees."
Sixty-two percent of voters in Eldora, Iowa supported Trump in the 2016 election, according to the New York Times.
"There is an important and untold story about the resistance to Trump's agenda in small towns and rural communities across the country," reads People's Action notice about the cookouts. "A lot of people who live in communities that Trump won in 2016 are people who are standing with migrant families today."
More than two dozen cookouts were planned as of Thursday afternoon, with the goal of organizing at least 100 gatherings for August 4 and 5. Along with community members in Eldora, residents of Canton, North Carolina and Athens, Alabama—both of which Trump won in 2016—were also planning cookouts.
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"There is an important and untold story about the resistance to Trump's agenda in small towns and rural communities across the country." —People's ActionThe events come days after the Trump administration was mandated to return all 2,551 of the children whom it had separated from parents, under orders from U.S. District Court Judge Dana Sabraw—a deadline the White House did not meet, despite reporting to the contrary in the corporate media.
The cases of 260 parents were still under review as of the July 26 deadline, with more than 700 children still detained. According to reports, the administration misled hundreds of parents into signing so-called "voluntary departure orders"—agreeing to be deported with the understanding that they would be reunited with their children.
Now, says People's Action, many of those children "are still being kept in cages. They are being traumatized, plain and simple. It's time to take concrete action to reunite families."
Additionally, the group aims to help families who are being detained together, following Trump's executive order which ended the practice of separating parents and children in June.
Money raised at community cookouts will "help families post bond for their release from detention and to pay for travel that will bring families back together," according to the organization.
"Community Cookouts will be a chance to connect with each other, reflect about why family is so important, learn about what we can do collectively to keep families together and free, and take concrete action," the group added.
View a map of the planned cookouts or sign up to organize a gathering here.