Rallies erupt in Battery Park, across country opposing immigration executive order


Justin Knoepfel

The first week of Donald Trump’s presidency has seen strong resentment across the United States. With each executive order signed by Trump, protestors have gathered to make their stances known to not only the administration, but the country as a whole. Trump’s recent executive order banning citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. has caused a flood of outrage and gatherings across the country in retaliation of the order and in solidarity with refugees and the Muslim community. Large numbers of people have come together in Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, and especially New York City to express their discontent with President Trump’s actions. One of these gatherings occurred spontaneously at Battery Park (a short 10-minute stroll from the University) on Jan. 29.

Thousands of New Yorkers, within sight of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, protested the ban with the assistance of Mayor Bill de Blasio, Sen. Chuck Schumer, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand rallying the crowd and speaking on American principles of acceptance and liberty. Gillibrand proclaimed, “For President Trump to slam the door, to say no, that means we have to fight, we have to stand strong.” Surrounding the park, as well as the general area of Wall Street, citizens held signs assuring “We will Love + Protect Each Other” and “Welcome Immigrants. Stop Racism.”

As is to be expected in a city like New York, the peaceful protest garnered people of all races and religious affiliations. Protestors gave inspired reasons for wanting to rally: “When you look around, and see all the kinds of people in attendance here…this is America. This is democracy,” said one protestor, who asked to remain nameless. Another protestor, who is the daughter of immigrants, said, “My parents came to this country because of the freedoms the United States grants its people. To shut out that opportunity I was given to others is disgraceful and un-American.”

Many organizations were out along with citizens, such as RefuseFascism.org, who handed out flyers and stickers and registered people for their website. Refuse Fascism stands in opposition to what they see as an illegitimate presidency and its cabinet of “white supremacists, woman haters, science deniers, religious fundamentalist zealots, and war mongers.” Organizer Juana Lopez, a Columbian immigrant, said, “Once consolidated, it’s harder to take down fascism, but it’s possible through massive mobilizations day after day. We have a chant that goes: Night after night, hour after hour, stay in the streets, don’t let them pull power.” Lopez made it clear that such goals will only be successful through peoples’ involvement. “It needs churches, it needs teachers, it needs people refusing these outrages… We can’t allow this to keep growing,” she said. However, she also added, “We can’t keep chasing everything he does. We have to stop it from the root.”

Indeed many protestors have worked towards mobilization to let Washington know they will not accept intolerance, prejudice, and unconstitutional actions from Trump and his administration. As Trump’s first week turns into his second, and eventually to months and years, it is the hope of these protestors that these aspirations will not simmer.