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Loveland Women Stand on Downtown Corner to Protest Border Separations

June 16, 2018

Thursday night, Loveland resident Jessica Schneider felt herself “boiling” as she read news stories about children being separated from their parents at the southern United States border following the institution of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy.

“I got really mad,” she said “I have a son and I am just sick of sitting down and hearing this news that goes against everything I stand for and, I think, everything we stand for. When are we going to say we value children and we aren’t going to hurt children and families and traumatize them for generations for politics?”

So Schneider decided she would bring that message to downtown Loveland by standing on the corner of Lincoln Avenue and Fourth Street between 4 and 6 p.m. Friday with holding up signs denouncing the policy.

Doing so was something she said she initially found “anxiety-inducing” because she doesn’t like attention. But she decided to demonstrate anyway because she felt she needed to do more than “just share stuff about the issue on Facebook.”

“I love this town and I know it’s a mixed politics town, but I think this is beyond politics,” she said. “I don’t want to rile anybody up. I just want this to be about the kids.”

Though a Facebook post she created Thursday night showed about 25 people were interested in joining Schneider, she spent about an hour on the corner alone before her friend Amanda Waddell joined her.

“As a parent my heart is breaking for not only the kids but the parents. I just can’t imagine my kids being ripped away from me and stuck in unsupervised cages [which] basically is where they are right now and I don’t see an end in sight,” said Waddell, who was also driven to the corner by a desire to “do something.”

Many passersby expressed support by honking, waving and yelling messages of affirmation out their windows. One couple, however, stopped to question Schneider about the situation and what alternatives were available to the separations. That couple said they agreed with the desire expressed by Schneider and Waddell for an easier path to citizenship for immigrants but also said the government “needs to enforce laws.”

“I think there is common ground here,” Jake Garcia said. “We all want to have some sort of easier process for citizenship. But they say they are opposed to the idea of the [border] wall and I don’t think they should be because a wall would institutionalize an easier process for citizenship.”

Garcia’s wife, Jessica, said further compromise from both sides is needed.

“We need to trade security for more freedom and if you want to gain freedom you have to be willing to accept boundaries to it,” she said.

Schneider said she was glad the couple stopped to discuss the issue with her and Waddell.

“I’m grateful to live in a town where people are showing their support [for this] and even people that don’t support it are stopping to ask questions,” she said. “That’s cool. I am open to those conversations.”

Paul Albani-Burgio: 970-699-5407, palbani-burgio@reporter-herald.com