Hundreds came, maybe more than a thousand. But one Mexican immigrant who stepped out in front of Sunday's rally at the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City spoke for thousands more who were missing.
Fabiola Cruz, a 42-year-old Kansas Citian from Tijuana, Mexico, stepped forward when the call went out for testimonies.
Cruz, who attended such a rally for the first time, emerged from the sign-waving crowd that gathered Sunday afternoon at J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain to oppose the increasingly severe immigration policies of President Donald Trump's administration.
She embraced the support of so many — with signs saying "Free the children" — who came to support immigrant and refugee rights and to decry the separation of children from their parents at the U.S. border.
So many more people would have come, many of them immigrants themselves, Cruz said, "but they are scared."
Cruz had been calling on friends, texting for them to join her, but they feared retribution against themselves or members of their families, she said.
"It's hurting our families," she said. "It's worldwide. Immigrants are from many countries, (and) they are scared."
The crowds came to the rally, organized by Cosecha KC, at a time when the nation is divided over recent U.S. border actions as Trump and his administration are blocking and detaining families trying to enter the U.S. at the Mexican border. Many of the families are trying to claim refugee status, fleeing from dangers throughout Central America.
Federal agents on the border began separating children from their parents as the U.S. began enforcing a zero tolerance policy against undocumented immigrants, even if they were traveling with children. But public outcry, riled by images of children in cages, led to changes that are still divisive, as border patrols struggle with uncertain resources to detain entire families.
In Kansas, lawmakers were scrambling with immigrant rights advocates to help as many as 44 migrant children who had been separated from their families and housed in The Villages, a Topeka nonprofit agency.
House Democrat leader, Rep. Jim Ward announced Sunday that former U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom and state Rep. John Alcala have gathered a team of lawyers who will be representing the children to help reunite them with their families.
These are not new issues, and it didn't start with the Trump administration, Cosecha's Nancy Sauceda told the crowd Sunday.
Their immigration concerns trace back through the Obama, Bush and Clinton administrations, she said.
"We can't trust Democrats and we can't trust Republicans," she said.
Mayor Sly James joined the rally, calling on the crowd to seize the issue as Kansas City's cause against immorality and inhumanity, in defense of "liberty and justice ... for all."
"These are our neighbors," James said. "These are our friends. This is our city. It's not theirs. These are children that are being separated from their families. It is traumatizing. It is inhuman. It is immoral. It is wrong. We must stop it now."