Hundreds of protesters converged on Foley Square last night to continue the demonstrations against President Trump's executive order banning refugees and immigrants from seven majority-Muslim countries. One of the rally's organizers, 17-year-old Hebh Jamal, said that the protest was intended to push back against Trump's "insurgency of hatred, and insurgency of just extreme traumatic policies that are being passed right now."
The subsequent march moved from Foley Square to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office (ICE) at Federal Plaza, and was co-sponsored by Syria Solidarity New York City and CISPOS-NYC: Committee In Solidarity with the People of Syria.
From the stage, Malik Hassan recited a sunset prayer from the Koran, and you didn’t need to know the language to know the soulful song radiated peace and appreciation. He then led a prayer gathering near the Story Corps building for anyone who wanted to participate.
Murad Awawdeh, Director of Political Engagement at the NY Immigration Coalition, introduced the speakers, including Jamal, Public Advocate Letitia James, Syrian refugees Loubina Mrie and Sarab Al-Jijakli, City Comptroller Scott Stringer, singers, union leaders and more. They spoke out against Trump's executive order for an immigration ban focused on seven Muslim-majority countries, as well as the plan to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
"[The ban] confirmed many of our worst fears about the president's plan for America to turn back the clock of time," James declared.
The crowd also held a moment of silence for the six people murdered while praying at a Quebec mosque. Kashish, a Muslim American singer, performed "Stronger Together", and a band of musicians from Artists for A Free World led the peaceful crowd as they marched to ICE chanting: "No Hate, No Fear, Refugees Are Welcome Here."
Meryl Meisler is author of the "A Tale of Two Cities: Disco Era Bushwick" and "Purgatory & Paradise: SASSY '70s Suburbia and the City." (Both available here.)