Updated, 8:23 p.m.
Taking the microphone after her mom and older sister, nine-year-old Luz told the crowd that she hadn’t given up.
“I know that ICE won this time, but the second round we will win,” said Luz, Martin Esquivel-Hernandez’s youngest daughter. “God bless all of you.”
On Tuesday evening, a crowd of roughly 150 people gathered in the rain to show support for Esquivel-Hernandez and his family, and to promise to keep working to defend the rights of all immigrants. They held signs and candles and chanted “Not one more deportation” in both English and Spanish.
Organizers of the rally had planned a different type of event, one where they would urge U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to listen and release Esquivel-Hernandez. That changed early Tuesday when they learned he had been deported to Mexico.
Esquivel-Hernandez came to Pittsburgh from Mexico in 2012 and was arrested by ICE officials last spring. Ever since, there has been a campaign to #BringMartinHome.
During the rally, the crowd moved into the intersection of South Water and Hot Metal streets for just a few minutes. They formed a circle as police SUVs blocked the intersection for them.
The multiple speakers included Esquivel-Hernandez’s wife, Alma, and his two daughters, Luz and Shayla, 11. (His son Alex, 5, and mother, Maria Elena Hernandez-Lopez, also live in Pittsburgh.) They thanked the crowd for their support and Esquivel-Hernandez for his courage.
Through an interpreter, Alma said she was sorry she couldn’t bring her husband home and that she would pray for ICE officials because they don’t know the harm they are doing.
“ICE was successful in dividing us, but they could not separate our souls and our hearts,” she said.
See more photos from the rally:
A previous version of this article incorrectly listed the ages of Esquivel-Hernandez’s daughters Shayla and Luz.