Thousands protest travel ban verdict

Tequila Minsky

Just hours after the Supreme Court verdict on the Trump Administration travel bans was announced on June 26, New Yorkers responded to an immediate, last minute call to action.

On Facebook, activist Linda Sarsour wrote: “BREAKING NEWS. We lost. Reversed and remanded. The Supreme Court just took the side of Trump and his white supremacist administration in the Muslim and refugee ban case. They decided in favor of xenophobia. Another dark stain on our country’s history. Meet me at Foley Square at 6 pm.”

Among her advocacies, Sarsour was director of the Arab American Association of New York, was co-chair of the 2017 Women’s March and is frequently a speaker at immigration rights rallies.

And the city’s concerned came, packing Foley Square, placards in hand, and passion in their heart.

The after-work crowd swelled to thousands, protesting the Supreme Court’s decision upholding the ban to travelers from six countries —I ran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, Venezuela and North Korea. Protesters believe this ban (which made it to the Supreme Court, it’s the third version) against Muslim-majority countries is pure and simple a ban against Muslims.

Basically, the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 vote, ruled that the President has the authority, and since the ban is based on the terrorist vetting of nationals from the named countries, the ban is not based on religion.

Members of dozens of groups — immigration and civil liberty, Muslim and Jewish organizations, as well as individuals, comprised the rally, coordinated by MPower Change’s Mohammad Khan. Murad Awawdeh of the New York Immigrant Coalition, one of the event’s organizing groups, opened the rally noting that the crowd was what New York looks like in its diversity, taking a stand for “rights of everyone who lives among us.” Public Advocate Letitia James’ words were succinct: “No hate, no fear, Muslims are welcome here.”

Signs held by protesters echoed concerns of growing xenophobia, fascism, prejudice against minorities, and Islamophobia.

One placard quoted from Justice Sotomayor’s dissent against “the government’s misguided invitation to sanction a discriminatory policy.”

After a series of speakers, the assembled walked down Broadway chanting, “No hate, no fear, Muslims are welcome here.” From the Battery, they could see the Statue of Liberty.

Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer issued the following statement in reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision upholding the Trump Administration’s travel bans:

“The Supreme Court failed in its duty today. This decision will go down in history along with cases like Korematsu v. U.S. (concerning the constitutionality of Executive Order 9066, which ordered Japanese Americans into internment camps during World War II regardless of citizenship) and Hirabayashi v. U.S. as a shameful legal stamp of approval for a policy rooted in discrimination and xenophobia. In the long run this policy is diametrically opposed to American values and cannot last. Those of us who stand for equal rights under the law and against hate, fear, and division are going to win. I will continue standing with Muslims, immigrants and everyone else targeted by this White House until we do.”

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