Happening nearby: 500 march in suburban solidarity to support immigrant rights

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    In a passionate show of suburban solidarity, an estimated 500 marchers from across the region gathered in downtown Edmonds on Saturday morning to voice support for inclusion, immigrant rights, and to protest the recent actions coming out of Washington, D.C. that would curtail these.

    Marchers gathered at Edmonds’ Civic Field, where event organizer Julie Hertl of Edmonds addressed the crowd, acknowledging how their presence at the event sends a strong message that these values and beliefs are not limited to the disenfranchised, but are widely shared across America, particularly in traditional middle-class suburbia.

    “This is what America is about,” she said. “It’s not time to be fearful. It’s time to stand up and be counted. It’s time to be engaged.”

    In an impromptu gesture, Rick Steves bounded out of the crowd and up to the podium, took the megaphone and underscored Hertl’s message.

    “Today Edmonds arises from complacency and whiteness to show the world what we really are,” he said. “We are committed to standing by the ideals the rest of the world looks up to. If you’re afraid of Muslims, get to know some. If you’re afraid of gays, get to know some. Celebrate the beautiful fabric of our community. Be engaged!”

    Participants then left Civic Field and marched through downtown Edmonds, as Steves jumped into the role of unofficial cheerleader, chanting with the crowd, “No hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here.”

    The march concluded at Frances Anderson Center field, where marchers could browse informational tables, read educational materials and learn about opportunities for further involvement.

    — Story and photos by Larry Vogel

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