LOS ANGELES—The placard that Sam Martinez made for Wednesday night’s march against President-elect Donald Trump read more like a love letter than a protest sign.
“Mom, Dad—I’m here for you!!!”
“This is for my mom and dad and all the immigrants out there,” Martinez told me as we weaved through the streets of Los Angeles.
Martinez said he attended the protest to show his support for his and all undocumented parents who fear deportation or separation from their families under a Trump presidency. Trump has promised to create a deportation squad to round-up and deport more than 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S.—folks like Martinez’s mother, who came here from El Salvador.
“I’m here because I want to represent her and my dad and everybody who can’t be here.”
Martinez said his mom had no idea he had gone to the protest, and actually warned him to “stay at home so nothing will happen to you.”
Her words demonstrate a fear that’s spreading through the undocumented immigrant community in the wake of Trump’s victory. Some people are trying to keep a lower profile than usual, but for many young people like Martinez, now more than ever is a time to come out of the shadows and stand in solidarity.
Martinez said his friends convinced him to join the march at the last minute, so he rushed to make his sign with poster board and a Salvadoran flag to show that love still trumps hate.
His sign got several people choked up in the crowd.
“I’m pretty sure there are young sons and daughters out there that are feeling the same way I do about their parents,” he told me.