About 30 people united in the median on Mulberry Street to protest Thursday’s visit from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was here to address law enforcement officers about reducing crime.
Many protestors took issue with the zero-tolerance immigration policy Sessions ordered earlier this year.
“We just feel the current policies of this administration work against what we’re trying to build here in Macon,” said Claire Cox, president of Georgia Women and Those Who Stand With Us. “We are trying to build relationships between faiths and between different communities as far as race and countries of origin.”
Bibb County sheriff’s deputies stood by to keep watch on the crowd, which protested for about an hour and a half. A lone blond-haired man heckled the larger group, calling them idiots and hollering, “Hillary lost!”
Sessions has been widely criticized for the zero-tolerance immigration policy, which calls for the prosecution of those who illegally enter the U.S. That has the effect of separating immigrant children from their parents.
While the practice existed under the Obama administration, most families ended up being released with an ankle monitor while their cases were pending, according to Vox.com. Sometimes, they disappeared and failed to show up for their court dates.
Cox said she did not want Sessions to come to Macon and not see protestors.
“All our colors, all our experiences, all our families make up Macon, Georgia,” Cox said. “I think that we as a nation need to remind ourselves that we value families of people of color and people from other places and other religions as much as we value our own families.”
Bentley Hudgins, an activist for the LGBTQ community and Mercer University graduate, said there’s no place in Macon for “fear-based racist xenophobic ways of thinking.”
“We’re a part of the counter-narrative,” he said. “You might be saying something, but we’re going to say something too. …. We want to build this community to be a place where everybody is welcome and everybody has opportunities and everybody can succeed.”