UB students, Buffalo community rally for ‘No Ban, No Wall’
Protesters rally against President Trump’s travel ban
Halima Jibril wants everyone to know that Muslim people are not a threat.
“We are not terrorists, we are refugees,” Jibril said.
Jibril was among the thousands of people that participated in the “No Ban, No Wall” rally at Columbus Park on Sunday. The rally was a response to President Donald Trump’s recent travel ban executive order. Open Buffalo, a community organization that advocates for social and economic justice, organized the rally. Roughly 2,000 people participated in the protest.
The rally featured speakers from the Buffalo community, including a Methodist pastor, an imam, social justice advocates, as well as local refugees and immigrants who shared their personal stories.
The crowd participated in chants like “no ban, no wall, sanctuary for all,” and carried signs with slogans such as “no human is illegal” and “love not hate makes America great.”
Hawa Ali, a Somalian refugee, said she and her friends wanted to stand up for other Muslim refugees.
“We wanted to protest because we are Muslims, too. [Muslims] are peaceful; we are not terrorists. We came here because we ran away from war,” Ali said.
There are currently 5,000 refugees in the city of Buffalo, according to India Walton, a registered nurse and community activist who spoke at the rally.
“We have a large number of immigrants in Buffalo and they are an asset to our community. We don’t want them to feel unwelcome,” said Karen Hopkins, a rally attendee.
Walton thinks Buffalo should officially become a sanctuary city. A sanctuary city is a city that restricts state and local governments from alerting federal authorities about people who may be in the country illegally, according to The Washington Post.
“Make Buffalo a sanctuary city,” Walton said. “We don’t just want it in principle, we want it in practice. Hate is not something we tolerate in the Queen City.”
Protester Sarah Fiegel also said America has a “responsibility” to accept refugees and immigrants.
“This is supposed to be a safe place to come if you are being persecuted,” Fiegel said. “But now our leadership is saying we don’t stand for that. Not welcoming immigrants is fundamentally un-American.”
UB pharmacy student Jamie Light thinks Trump’s executive order is “not a testament to our freedom.”
“Freedom means you should be able to get into this country through due process if you have a good reason to be here and pose no threat to anyone,” Light said. “Trump is making this ban without even giving these people a chance to testify for themselves. There should not be an immigration ban and we do not need a wall. There’s a lot of problems right now but, but the solution isn’t fear.”
Speakers also called upon the crowd to take action against the Trump administration, encouraged rally attendees to vote in midterm elections and participate in community activism.
“We are resisting. This is only the beginning,” Walton said.
Maddy Fowler is the assistant news editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org