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Activists, clergy vow to stand against hate incidents, fight Trump policies

Civil rights groups and clergy gathered at Detroit's Central United Methodist Church on Monday.
Sarah Cwiek
Michigan Radio
Civil rights groups and clergy gathered at Detroit's Central United Methodist Church on Monday.

Civil rights groups and faith leaders say they stand ready to oppose some of Donald Trump’s expected policies.

They displayed a united front and laid out plans for action in Detroit on Monday.

The plans range from rounding up attorneys and other volunteers to defend families facing deportation, to clergy pledging “sanctuary” for them.

Sergio Martinez, an undocumented immigrant living in Detroit, says his community is “scared to death” right now.

But Martinez says it’s also a “resilient” community that’s won some major victories and allies under President Obama—particularly the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provides some measure of protection for undocumented people brought to the U.S. as young children.

“We owe it to ourselves to keep fighting because of all the progress that we’ve made in the past eight years,” Martinez said.

Activists also vowed to fight racist bullying in schools, saying there’s been a sharp uptick in reported incidents since just last week.

Lena Kamal is with the Michigan chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations.

Just since the election, Kamal says the group has received “numerous” calls from Muslim parents whose children report being harassed in school, including several cases where female students had hijabs (headscarves) torn off their heads.

Kamal says CAIR is reaching out to schools to try and help them respond to these incidents.

But however else they decide to approach them, “We highly encourage that the administration and the teachers and the staff at these schools support the victim,” Kamal said. “Let them know that they’re not alone, that they have the backing of the administration and teachers.”

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Radio in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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