Two events scheduled to take place in Frederick this Sunday afternoon at 2 o’clock present a stark contrast to each other and a clear choice for all who care about the future of our community — that is, for all of us.
At the Baker Park Band Shell — usually the site of celebratory, charitable, civic, and sometimes prayerful observances — numerous people from both inside and outside the community will gather in support of the county’s involvement with ICE and the president of the program known as 287(g). Guest speakers will include the head of a self-described “immigration reform” group widely characterized as an extremist anti-immigrant organization, and the former acting head of ICE who devised and spearheaded the current administration’s family separation policy. Like everyone else on the speaker list, they’ll praise 287(g)’s unsubstantiated — and in many respects disproven — benefits to community security and safety, and urge everyone at the rally to keep supporting the program in the face of steadily growing community resistance.
Meanwhile, a few blocks away, at the Carroll Creek Amphitheater, many others will gather for a peaceful and festive celebration of community solidarity, unity and diversity, in support of the county’s immigrants and refugees — our neighbors, fellow parents and grandparents, co-workers and friends. Or rather, in support of all of us, because all of us benefit greatly from their membership in and contributions (both social and economic) to the community. And because, now more than ever, we need to remember and honor our own families’ challenging immigrant and refugee pasts.
Both as individuals and community members, where we choose to be this Sunday, and what we choose to represent by being there, may be one of the most important decisions we’ll ever make.