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EAST CHICAGO — Saturday’s upcoming rally in East Chicago is an opportunity for Northwest Indiana to join in the wave of demonstrations across the U.S. in response to President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration, the event organizer said. 

“It’s a chance for anyone who feels worried, upset or threatened under the Trump administration,” said Matthew Paskash, 29, an Indiana University Northwest student. “The local undocumented community in Northwest Indiana is not a trivial population. There are a lot of folks directly threatened by his administration.”

Trump last week signed an executive order that temporarily suspends immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries. Saturday's event quickly came together through word of mouth after that, said Paskash, who helped organize the rally. 

The Rally to Defend Families and Democracy Against Fear and Hate is set for 1 p.m. Saturday at Veterans’ Park, 4525 Indianapolis Blvd. At least one Syrian woman will speak at the rally about Trump’s immigration ban, Paskash said.

Immigration and refugee rights will be in the spotlight, but Paskash said it’s also a chance for everyday people to connect with area community activists and plan future protests and events.

“We want to use this as a stepping stone,” he said.

There will be an organizational and planning meeting immediately after the rally to plan next steps, according to a news release. It will be held at the Pastrick Library, 1008 Chicago Ave., which is in walking distance from the rally.

People can RSVP via the event's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/events/1767180986936995/

According to the event’s Facebook page, the event is co-sponsored by NWI Federation of Interfaith Organizations, 219MIGHT (Mass Incarceration and GEO Halt Team), Duneland Environmental Justice Alliance, the Antiwar Committee in Solidarity with the Struggle for Self-Determination, Break Free Midwest, Hoosiers for Progress, Standing up for Racial Justice NWI, Lake County Young Democrats and the local committee of the Asamblea Popular Nacional, Northwest Indiana.

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Northlake County Reporter

Lauren covers North Lake County government, breaking news, crime and environmental issues for The Times. She previously worked at The Herald-News in Joliet. She holds a master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting.