Orange County residents will gather Saturday at Laguna’s Main Beach to oppose a demonstration planned Sunday by a group advocating for victims of crimes organizers say have been committed by immigrants illegally living in the United States.
Saturday’s rally, led by Indivisible OC 48, Indivisible OC 46 and Together We Will Orange County, begins at 10 a.m. and is called “From Charlottesville to Laguna Beach: We Stand Together,” according to a Facebook post.
“Heeding the call from the Movement for Black Lives for a national action and solidarity with Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday and in response to the encroachments of racists and white supremacists on Sunday into beautiful Laguna Beach as the bastion for diversity, liberty and equality, we’re holding a unity rally with Mayor Toni Iseman.
“Our message is loud and clear: Hate is not welcome here!”
The groups are chapters of Indivisible OC, an organization that urges its congressional representatives to resist President Trump and his administration through inclusion, tolerance and fairness, according to the Indivisible website.
The numbers 46 and 48 refer to congressional districts. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) represents the 48th district, which includes Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, Corona del Mar, Laguna Beach and Huntington Beach. Rep. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) represents the 46th district, including Orange, Anaheim and Santa Ana.
On its website, Indivisible accuses Trump of being racist, authoritarian and corrupt.
On Sunday, Orange County resident Johnny Benitez said he will hold a vigil titled America First! for victims who have died because of DUI accidents and gang-related crimes from people illegally living in the U.S.
Benitez, who confirmed his legal name is Juan Cadavid as the OC Weekly reported earlier this year, said he wants a moratorium on immigration and opposes amnesty.
“Every job you can do is paid less than normal because of cheap labor [from workers] brought into the country,” Benitez said in a phone interview Wednesday. “We feel that it’s anti-American and not good for people of the labor force who are looking for jobs.”
Such messages struck Lulu Hammad, one of the organizers for Saturday’s rally, as offensive.
“The notion that illegal [immigrants] and refugees are starting crimes in our society, as if they are bringing this crime and illegal activity, is not true,” Hammad said. “This has always been an open space for people to have equal rights.”
Benitez said people are confusing nationalism with racism and that he is not a racist, but trying to confront anti-white rhetoric.