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Direct Action At The Cleveland Federal Building

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On Tuesday, February 27th, we took part in a non-violent, direct action (entirely legal) on the first floor of the Federal Building in Downtown Cleveland in order urge U.S. Senator Rob Portman to start voting in favor of bipartisan DACA proposals that would benefit the Dreamers and their their families.

In order to prepare for this activity, we had taken non-violence training at the Forest Hill Church in Cleveland Heights on February 20th. Mr. Jeff Smith and Ms. Sharon Shumaker conducted this training and the notes that we were given at that time read in part:

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"On February 15, the Senate voted on four immigration-related proposals, three of which included protection for Dreamers. All four failed to obtain the 60 votes needed to proceed. Senator Portman voted against both bi-partisan immigration proposals, which included billions of dollars for border security and restrictive measures. Senator Brown voted for these proposals. Senator Portman voted for a proposal that would penalize so-called 'sanctuary cities' for not enforcing immigration law; this proposal included nothing about the dreamers and border security. He voted for a proposal that mirrored President Trump's restrictive immigration demands. Senator Brown voted against these proposals..."

All in all, our direct action may have lasted only a half hour. As instructed, we arrived early at the Federal Building and waited until approximately 9:40am in the cafeteria. At 9:45am we gathered (about 50 of us all told) in the first floor lobbly where a few of us held a banner and the rest of us either stood up or sat down as we held cards that read, " No Excuse", "Dream Act Now" or (best of all, we think) "Portman Act Now" which also contained the U.S. Senator's photo.

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Our instructions were to remain silent while a small group of clergy went up to the U.S. Senator's office to request a meeting but from what we were told, our representatives were told that U.S. Senator Portman was not in Cleveland at this time and wouldn't be available for a while. 

Our clergypeople thus came downstairs and eloquently addressed us for a few minutes. We were especially moved by Rabbi Joshua Caruso from Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple. Rabbi Caruso recalled that his people underwent a lot of repression before Moses lead them to the Promised Land. At that time, Moses said, "Let My People Go!" but Rabbi Caruso believed that it was now time to say, "Let My People Stay!" (i.e. the Dreamers). Rabbi Caruso said that such a stand would be entirely consistent with U.S. Senator Portman's support of family values.

Please see the below link to view our endeavor in its entirety.

Northeast Ohio clergy gather in support of DACA

The group is demanding Sen. Rob Portman and his congressional colleagues pass a bill to protect Dreamers.


Michael Patterson

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC