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The Reno Solidarity Network held a rally today called “Bridges Not Walls” in protest to the recent executive action regarding the Mexico-U.S. border. The rally was meant to both show opposition to the wall as well as show support for immigrants and refugees. Also on hand were members of ACTIONN and the ACLU of Nevada.
Many in the crowd could be seen wearing the now iconic pussy hats affiliated with the women’s march; a variety of picket signs were on display as well. The fairly diverse crowd seemed frustrated yet energetic.
The non-city-approved rally gathered over 300 people, a number based on an image taken from above, who gathered in front of the Believe sculpture at noon.
Felicia Perez organized the group via megaphone as yellow vested volunteers handed out a flyer with social media hashtags, chant guidelines and the lyrics to the song “Let ‘em in,” as well as information on how to contact politicians.
After the crowd sang, volunteers led the group up the Virginia Street bridge, making a diligent effort to keep the sidewalk open to non-participants.
Perez started the chants, which included “say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here,” “no hate, no fear, everyone is welcome here,” “when immigrant communities are under attack, what do we do stand up fight back,” “bridges not walls, justice for all,” “no ban, no wall, Donald Trump has to fall,” “no ban, no wall, no Bannon at all,” “no ban, no wall, Nevada stands tall,” “let them in,” “no Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA.”
Several passersby cheered the group on, including one that handed out roses to the participants. Others had stern looks on their faces, and several even took the time to shout back in support of the new administration.
The crowd chose to remain silent, their fists held high in response.
The Reno Police Department arrived on scene and spoke with some the volunteers; though, no further action appeared to have taken place.
After the chanting was over, the crowd sang “let them in” one last time, and the volunteers led everyone back to the Believe sculpture.
Perez, Mike Thornton of ACTIONN and Holly Welborn of the ACLU each spoke to the crowd about continued action. Wellborn specifically requested that immigration lawyers and lawyers from points of entry contact her for to help with immigration issues.
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Ty O’Neil is a lifelong student of anthropology with two degrees in the arts. He is far more at home in the tear gas filled streets of war torn countries than he is relaxing at home. He has found a place at This Is Reno as a photojournalist. He hopes to someday be a conflict photojournalist covering wars and natural disasters abroad.