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Community comes together in SE Portland for immigrant and refugee rally

The community came out to the East Portland Community Center on Friday night to show support for immigrants and refugees. (KATU Photo)

Hundreds turned out Friday night to show support for refugees and immigrants in the Portland area.

Portland’s Parks and Recreation hosted the event at the East Portland Community Center. It invited everyone, especially refugees and immigrant families.

It was a diverse crowd of Portlanders united in their message.

“Immigrants are here from all over the world, and they become Americans, said Vandana Herur. “We’re American, and we really feel strongly about this country and we’re involved and invested in it, so we really want to keep this going for our future generations.”

The city invited the public to come together as political tensions rise around the issue of immigration and President Donald Trump’s travel ban.

“What this represents is a city coming together around a population that has unfortunately been targeted recently,” said Grace Stratton, a field representative for U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon.

The current political climate is a big reason why many are getting involved.

“I haven’t been this active since the late 60s, early 70s. I’ve been out marching more. I need new tennis shoes now,” said Sheila Robinson.

“Today is St. Patrick’s Day, and we all know that when the Irish first came here, they were spat on, and now it’s other groups,” said Avia Herur-Raman.

“I think it’s unfortunate. I think it’s something that we all have to pray about. We all have to deal with it,” said Phillip Hunker.

Despite their concerns, the crowd remained focused on moving the country forward.

“Yeah, it’s really important that we’re here not to forget the American rules, what made America so great. It’s the immigrants,” said Vandana Herur.

Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz also spoke to the crowd.

The community center is right across the street from the East Precinct of the Portland Police Bureau. Officers took part in some of the activities and greeted people as they came in to make sure everyone felt welcome.

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