Standing Against Trump's Cruel Policies at VMAs, Children of Immigrant Families Powerfully Declare 'We Are All Human Beings'

In a powerful protest against “the Trump administration’s cruel and inhumane family separation policy that tore thousands of children from their parents and continues to keep hundreds apart,” rapper Logic led immigrant families onstage during his performance of the track “One Day,” featuring OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards on Monday night.

During the performance at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, the children and their parents—leaders from the advocacy groups Make the Road New York, the National Domestic Workers Alliance, and United We Dream—sported shirts that declared, “We Are All Human Beings,” while the rapper’s said, “F*ck the Wall.” The performance included a human-made wall, and culminated with the wall falling and children rushing to reunite with their parents.

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Among those who joined the performers onstage was 15-year-old Jefferson Arpi, a youth leader with United We Dream who said in a statement: “I’m so excited to have performed with Logic tonight. It meant a lot to me to be able to represent my family because my dad, Manuel Arpi, is in a detention camp.”

“With tonight’s performance, we are sending a strong message: families belong together and not in cages.”
—Lizbeth Huitzil, Make the Road NY

“It is inspiring and powerful to see Logic share the stage with immigrants like me to show the real-life struggles we face,” added Lizbeth Huitzil, a recipient of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and a member of Make the Road NY. “Our brothers and sisters are being detained, put in cages, and separated from their families. With tonight’s performance, we are sending a strong message: families belong together and not in cages.”

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“We are still in a moment of crisis,” noted Jess Morales Rocketto, a leader of the Families Belong Together Coalition and political director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. “We’re calling for accountability. Join us in the fight to reunite every family that’s been torn apart by this administration.”

Although public outrage pressured President Donald Trump to sign an executive order replacing his “zero tolerance” policy, under which thousands of children were taken from their parents and detained in alarming conditions—and a federal judge had ordered the administration to reunite all families by July 26—more than 500 children remain in government custody.

The music video for “One Day, released last Friday ahead of the awards ceremony, also focuses on Trump’s immigration policy and xenophobia, opening with a heartbreaking scene that shows U.S. border patrol agents ripping a baby from its mother’s arms. As Jefferson Arpi described it, “Logic’s music video showed that even though our families face a lot of pain, we are strong, we are fighters, and we are human.”

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