BREAKING: Two Hundred Jews Disrupt Philadelphia Salute To America Independence Day Parade, Say “Never Again Is Now”



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BREAKING: Two Hundred Jews Disrupt Philadelphia Salute To America Independence Day Parade, Say “Never Again Is Now”

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JULY 4th, 2019 PHILADELPHIA, PA -,  33 American Jews and immigrant leaders were arrested for blocking the Salute to America Independence Day Parade and demanding elected officials close the camps at the border, defund ICE and CBP, and provide permanent protection for all undocumented immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. 

The Never Again Week of Action kicked off earlier this week when 36 American Jews were arrested outside an ICE detention center in Elizabeth, New Jersey to protest the inhumane conditions and continued funding of ICE and CBP. Further actions have taken place across the country and will continue into the weekend, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, and Chicago. 

Hundreds of allies joined the protestors, marching from the ICE building to the parade while chanting in solidarity. Attendees sang protest songs and held signs that read “Never Again is Now” and “Never again for anyone.” Several speakers, including Carla Rojas of Movimento Cosecha, spoke about their migrant relatives’ long journeys to find safety and freedom in the United States. 

At approximately 11:45, thirty-three protestors blocked the parade making a human chain across Market Street. Protestors were met with cheers and words of encouragement by the parade participants and attendees who supported the groups’ cause. Police arrested all thirty-three protestors on site and put them in police vans. 

“American Jews are taking a stance to defend our own humanity and the humanity of our country. We learned during the Holocaust how critical it was to building solidarity with other communities, and the cost of how few people stepped up to save Jews from the horrors of the concentration camps. It is our responsibility to do everything we can to disrupt this nightmare and to push back against a corrupt government enacting heinous crimes against a vulnerable community,” said Tenara Calem, a Jewish American who lives in Philadelphia

Olga Livshin, a former refugee to the United States said, “I came to the United States as a Jewish refugee from Russia when I was 14. HIAS(Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society)and other Jewish organizations were good to my family. It pains me to know that now, refugees who could have been me--who simply come from a different country and do not necessarily share my cultural heritage--are being abused and humiliated by our government. It is unbearable to watch their basic human rights violated as punishment for seeking asylum.”

Victor, a young man who had spent nearly two years in detention at the Berks County Detention Center said,  “I came to this country looking for freedom and security but instead I was given detention. I was there for 700 hundred days, days filled with worry and desperation. And believe me when I say, I do not wish that on anyone, let alone moms and dads with children. And that’s why I think it’s time to end family detention. It’s time that we released them all, from all centers. And that no child is left inside like I was. Because it is not easy, it’s not easy at all being in those centers, that’s why I ask with all my heart that we close those places down once for all. Shut down Berks.”


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