Equality Maryland head arrested at immigration reform rally

Carrie Evans, the executive director of Equality Maryland, was arrested at an immigration reform rally in Washington on Thursday afternoon, the state's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organization said.

The arrest wasn't surprising, as Evans had announced earlier this week that she planned to participate in a collective act of civil disobedience in front of the White House with marchers from Casa de Maryland and other social justice organizations.

The event Thursday, which began in front of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement headquarters in Washington, was dubbed the #FightforFamilies march. The marchers want better protections for undocumented workers in the country and for the thousands of immigrant children who have entered the country recently after fleeing violence in their home countries.


In an opinion piece in the Washington Blade on Tuesday, Evans outlined her reasons -- personal and as head of Equality Maryland -- for participating.

Evans, who is a native Canadian and a naturalized U.S. citizen, said she wanted to "stand in solidarity" with her fellow immigrants, many of whom she said have less privilege than she does as a white English speaker. She also said Equality Maryland is heavily engaged in immigration reform, especially as singularly-LGBT issues like same-sex marriage make way for concerns surrounding overlapping identities.

"Far too many people believe that because we have won marriage equality and passed a trans anti-discrimination law, our work for LGBT equality is done in Maryland. Unfortunately, there remains so much left to do, and much of this work is centered on the intersections of our LGBT lives; the 'ands' of our lives," Evans wrote. "Thus, we will work on issues regarding being both LGBT and immigrant, LGBT and disabled, LGBT and African American, LGBT and living in a rural area, and so on."
Equality Maryland worked closely with Casa de Maryland in 2012, when ballot initiatives on same-sex marriage and the DREAM Act, which grants in-state tuition discounts to undocumented college students, both appeared before voters. The two groups supported each other's causes.
Both measures were approved by voters.
Equality Maryland tweeted a picture of Evans being arrested just after 2:30 p.m. Thursday. The group confirmed the arrest shortly after and said Evans and other protesters were being bussed to a nearby detention center.
Equality Maryland said Evans was charged under a Washington statute that bans demonstrators from blocking pedestrian traffic and refusing to respond to police officers' orders for them to move out of the area.
The group said Evans remained in high spirits after the arrest, and was pleased with the event.