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Children Lead Sit-in at Senate Building to Protest Trump’s Family Separation Policy

first_imgIn the middle of a sit-in at the Hart Senate Office Building, protesters began to make demands.They wanted crayons. A snack. That action figure that turns into another action figure.On Thursday, it was the children who led the charge.About 100 people, many of them very young, marched, toddled and, in some cases, were carried from St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C., to the building where about 50 senators have offices.When they arrived, they gathered in a circle, hoisting signs that declared, “I AM A CHILD.” They sang songs that riffed on familiar nursery rhymes – “If you’re powerful and you know it, clap your hands” – and cheered, stomped and danced.Thursday was the Trump administration’s court-imposed deadline to reunite thousands of children and parents separated by immigration agents at the U.S.-Mexico border. Those younger than 5 were supposed to be returned to their families earlier this month, although the administration did not reunite all of them by the court-assigned date.Hundreds of children whose parents have been deemed “ineligible” by the government will remain separated, including those whose parents were deported without them.The government was expected to update a federal judge on its progress by the end of the day Thursday.Protest organizers said they wanted to bring children front and center so lawmakers could see the kinds of kids the president’s “zero tolerance” policy has affected.“This is what a 2-month-old looks like,” said Jenn Kauffman, 38, gesturing to the wide-eyed baby affixed to her chest. “He’s still breast-feeding. He depends on me for nourishment, for everything. I don’t know what either of us would do if we were separated.”Parents at the rally said they wanted to show their children what it means to stand up for others in the face of injustice.“Do you remember what we talked about, what it means to be here at this protest?” Margo Simon, 41, prompted her son.“It means equal rights,” said Indy, 4, pumping his fist into the air.Nearby, a 3-year-old girl flashed a metallic red cape emblazoned with the Wonder Woman symbol.“When I told her we were going to go to protest and try to help those children, she said, ‘If we’re going to be superheroes, I need my cape,’ ” said Diana Raverlie, 44, of Arlington, Virginia.Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., asked the children to show her drawings they had made of their families and the messages they had written.Suri Baez, 7, had drawn two hearts – one broken and one intact. The broken one is for families who were separated, she told Harris. Their hearts will be whole again when they find their way back together.“Oh, that’s fantastic,” Harris said, crouching down to look up at the girl. “So there was a broken heart and now there’s a good, solid heart.”Suri nodded.“It is the ultimate act of inhumanity to rip those children from those parents. And to do it for what? For the sake of so-called deterrence?” Harris told the crowd. “It is important that we all stand up and say, ‘We as a country are better than this.’ ”Children and others march to the Hart Senate Office Building. Photo: Salwan Georges/Washingtpn PostThe protest, organized by a coalition of groups calling themselves Families Belong Together, echoed a demonstration at the same building in late June in which nearly 600 protesters were arrested.By the time Capitol Police issued warnings to disperse Thursday, the children had drawn the attention of Senate staff and tour group members, who gathered at windows and craned their heads to watch.“We don’t want to arrest anyone who doesn’t want to be arrested today,” an officer told one of the organizers as parents helped children tuck their signs away.Suri was there with her two siblings, Roberto, 12, and Luna, 14. For the three siblings, who came to Washington, D.C., from Denver to participate in the march, the memory of their mother, Jeanette Vizguerra, being removed from their home was still fresh.Vizguerra, 46, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico City who has lived in the United States for 21 years, was detained last year for 86 days.Immigration officials picked her up for violations that included driving without a valid license and crossing the border illegally, she said. Her children are U.S. citizens.“I feel like it’s kind of similar, us being without our mom and those kids being without theirs – it’s cruel and inhumane,” Roberto said. “I know I’m not going through the same pain that those kids [at the border] are, but I wanted to be here so I could feel like maybe we’re helping them.” Related Itemslast_img read more

Lego robot programmed to play Clash of Clans finds it as addicting

first_imgClash of Clans is not popular because it has deep gameplay and thought-provoking story lines. It’s really pretty straightforward — you build a city, generate resources, and attack other cities. It’s so easy a robot could do it… and now there’s one that does. A Lego Mindstorms EV3 bot has been programmed to keep the game chugging along with no human involvement whatsoever.The system was developed by Mark Petzold, an electrical engineering professor at St. Cloud State University in central Minnesota. The robot doesn’t really play the entire game — it’s set up to make a pass across the screen every 20 minutes with its stylus and tap on the mines to collect gold. In between the collection runs, the robot taps on the screen to keep the game awake so the mines don’t get full and the player makes more money.This isn’t all about getting an unfair advantage, though. The robot is programmed to close the game every few hours to give other players an opportunity to attack the fortress. The stylus actually slides over to the home button on the iPad to exit, then double-taps to pull up the multitasking UI. It actually swipes Clash of Clans away to close it before relaunching.Petzold’s next step is to teach the robot to launch attacks and donate troops to allies. The entire thing is just a series of taps, but it’s more complicated than collecting gold. It’s not clear if this kind of automated play is against the developer’s rules, though. Being a free-to-play game, the dev is probably happy to have as many people as possible playing, even if some of them are not so much people as they are robots built by people.last_img read more

Travelers to Israel this summer can experience mor

first_imgTravelers to Israel this summer can experience more than 80 musical, dance and theatrical performances by hundreds of international artists at the Israel Festival (May 24 – June 11).With performances in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Beer Sheva and Modi’in, the Israel Festival will showcase several world-renowned dance troupes, including the National Dance Company of Spain, the Canadian Grand Ballet of Montreal and America’s Lines Ballet.The Festival will present musical performances by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Gil Shohat, Cantus Colln, Italian pianist Maurizio Baglini, Portuguese singer Misia as well as musicians from Azerbaijan and India. Also, free jazz concerts will take place in the Jerusalem Theatre and in the downtown Mamilla Mall.“The Israel Festival is always an exhilarating time of entertainment for Israelis and travelers of all ages,” says Arie Sommer, Commissioner of Tourism, North and South America,”and adds extra excitement to the bustling streets of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.”The Festival will also feature several international acting groups, including Israeli mime artist Hanoch Rozenthe alongside the Klipa Theatre Company, Spanish acting trio Tricycle, the State Drama Theatre of Tbilisi and the Yiddishspiel Theatre. In addition, the Israeli theatric dance group Mayumana will return to the Festival stage with a performance of their new show ‘Momentum’.www.israel-festival.org.illast_img read more