A protestor at Friday’s No Walls In Tulsa march through downtown holds a sign. SHANE BEVEL/For The Frontier

As a dual-citizen of the United States and Brazil, Danielle Carlotti knows what it’s like to live as a foreigner in a different country. In fact, the 43-year-old Tulsan said she’s lived in five different countries in her life.

“I cannot imagine what it would be like to be an immigrant here and to feel like I wasn’t welcome or that I might be a threat,” she said. “I believe that almost all immigrants are here because they want to be here, and they want to participate in American society. I’m deeply concerned about the new xenophobic direction that the nation is taking, starting from the top, and I’m just going to keep showing up to these types of events.”

Carlotti’s two young children went to Friday’s march with her, and attend an international immersion school in Tulsa.

“The reason we enrolled them there is because (the school’s) primary goal is to teach children openness and empathy for others,” she said.

Dozens of people turned out Friday night for the No Walls in Tulsa March.

Participants began with a rally in Guthrie Green then marched to City Hall in protest of President Donald Trump’s recent executive orders on immigration.

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Trump’s election and subsequent inauguration has energized dissenters all over the country, including in Tulsa.

Nkem Ike, 25 years old, is from Tulsa and attended the march.

“I’m really worried about the direction that our country is going in,” she said. “I feel we’re a country that has always embraced diversity and immigration, and that (immigrants) have been an asset to this country, not detrimental. If we can all work together and tell people, not only in this country but the rest of the world, that we don’t subscribe to this hateful, racist rhetoric and ideas, that’s a step in the right direction.”

“I was not active before the election of Donald Trump,” Ike said, citing the 2016 presidential election as inspiring her attendance. “I think a lot of people feel as though they could be next, and that’s perhaps the wrong way to think about it. We should hear the language coming out of Washington right now and be concerned because people are people, not because we’re thinking ‘We could be next.’”

There was focus not only on national issues, but also calls for local action. “Cancel contract 287(g), call the Tulsa Commissioner,” was a cry as organizers took to the microphone to demand that the controversial U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement program incentivizing federal immigration policies be ended.

Cynthia Jasso,  24-year-old Tulsan, started chants of “Sí se puede,” Spanish for “Yes we can.”

She said this cause is personal for her.

“This is about my community. It’s about my family who came to this country from Mexico seeking a dream, who came here undocumented and gave my brothers and sisters an opportunity to be what we could be here,” she said. “I would’ve never imagined that we would have graduated from college and been here living out the dream. I’m here marching for families like mine to show that Tulsa is a welcoming place, and that it’s for everyone, not just one community but all.

“I think that people should call their senator, call the county, try to repeal 287(g), do everything we possibly can to make sure we continue to protect our community and protect the city of Tulsa as a compassionate place.”

Organizers also encouraged Tulsans to remain active and dedicate time to their community through once-a-week volunteering.

Nat Wachowski-Estes, a 31-year-old Tulsan, is engaged in these issues in the community and participated in the march.

“I work with a group called Aware Tulsa which is a white, anti-racist organization, and it’s our goal to not only engage other white people in learning our own privilege and dismantling racism, but also to show solidarity and always be in support of communities of color,” he said. “Especially in today’s political climate it’s really important for our Muslim community and our immigrant community, both of which are huge parts of Tulsa. I think it’s incredible to see so many people showing up consistently at these types of events.”

Throughout the night there were many references to the issues in Standing Rock, North Dakota, and the backing of immigrants and the undocumented community by American Indians.

Olivia Ramirez, 20 years old, lives on a reservation in Skiatook. She said she was arrested three weeks ago protesting in Memphis, TN.

She said her background affects her activism.

“For me, whenever I think about immigration issues, especially when it comes to Mexico, it’s really bothersome, because traditionally the tribes there were colonized by Spain just like the tribes here were colonized by the French and British. So for me, I don’t see anything other than another Native American on the other side of the border,” she said. “I came here to stand in solidarity with my relatives who are still on that other side, and to show that the indigenous people here are welcome. It’s not us forcing them out, it’s our colonizers who have forced the system on us, and we don’t want to perpetuate it anymore. They’re as much native to this land as we are.”

Trump’s plan to build a wall between Mexico and the U.S. was the focus of many signs and participants.

David Vogelpohl, 67, came to the march from Sapulpa.

“These claims to build a wall are ignorant and impractical. It’s costly, for one thing, so there’s no way it should be built,” he said. “President Trump just doesn’t think things through, and it would be a huge burden on the people who depend on the things that we do get from Mexico.”

He maintained that citizens can take action.

“There’s a lot of things that can be done by showing the government and all the other people who aren’t aware about the equality movement and treating everybody fairly,” he said.

Melissa Acton, a 31-year-old Tulsan, joined the event after returning from the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. She said her experience there inspired her to join Friday’s protest.

“One of the criticisms of (the Women’s March) was that white women showed up in one place for their own issues and not the rest of the vulnerable population’s issues, so I’m going to try to be more active in my local community and in supporting all of the issues that matter, everyone’s human rights,” she said. “We can’t get complacent. I think it’s really important to not assume that somebody else out there is representing your voice, and the second that we stop showing up to stuff like this is when we lose this uphill battle.”