Kari Allen, a long-time Richland resident, wants everyone to know she has something in common with First Lady Melania Trump.
She’s an immigrant.
Allen, originally from Bergen, Norway, met her future husband during a trip to Texas decades ago. A military career eventually brought them to Richland, where they eventually settled for good.
Allen, joined by a Nancy Kaushal, whose husband immigrated in 1960 to work as a scientist, sported a pink protest hat and flashed her immigrant credentials Monday afternoon as the Latino Coalition and its partners marked May Day with a rally to show solidarity with immigrants at Pasco’s Volunteer Park.
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About 75 people attended the rally and march, which was also jointly sponsored by local Democratic groups along with Love Not Hate Tri-Cities and Plumbers and Steamfitters Local Union 598.
The all-purpose rally attracted a diverse crowd with diverse interests: “Save Obamacare,” “Resist, then Repair,” “Stop Separating Families” and “Stop the Detentions,” were some of the messages touted by sign-waving participants.
Allen and Kaushal said they’re long-time veterans of battles for civil rights, women’s rights and gay rights. But they didn’t expect to attend rallies and carry signs in their retirement years.
“I’m here to try to reset all this divisiveness and inequality,” said Allen, 69. “I’m amazed to be out here at this age.”
The event aimed to build on the momentum the A Day Without Immigrants boycott, held Feb. 16 in the Tri-Cities and nationwide.
Antonio Valero, a volunteer with the Dispute Resolution center of Tri-Cities, struck a conciliatory note in a speech that centered on peace as a primary goal.
He said he’s no fan of the current presidential administration, but he agrees with President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan.
Valero, speaking in both Spanish and English, said there’s room for improvement and called it the civic duty of all people, regardless of politics, to make the slogan a reality.
“We can make it great. We should make it great,” he said.