March against the Ban- Washington DC

On October 18th, 2017 I joined people from across the nation (and world) in a protest against the US’s unconstitutional Muslim ban and also in protest against white supremacy, xenophobia, and religious discrimination. Though the trump administration has recently tried to cloak this obviously illegal ban, the courts have continued to see through it and the people have been taking to the streets resisting it.

One of the speakers at the rally tied the Muslim ban to the larger war against Muslims in the Middle East:

“People are dying in the Middle East because of America. We are told to be afraid of them, but really they should be afraid of us. The War on Terror begun by the Bush administration began the legacy that the trump administration continues. Not only is the US now blocking people from predominately Muslim countries from entering the US now, they are also starving people in Guantanamo Bay, filling the domestic prison system, and being attacked by drone strikes. At no point during our country’s history was it not racist. We need to recreate the narrative of the US instead of referring back to a story that never existed.”

We marched to trump hotel on the National Mall, which is the only structure that violates the building code in DC (all buildings must be a lesser height than the Capitol building), and the speakers lined up to talk. One of them was an African American woman who expressed the meaning of solidarity and the need for change:

“You might live in the white house and have a hotel like a castle, but in the constitution it states that all people are equal. The problem with america is that it has never wanted to recognize that non-white people are equal. White supremacy has reigns, and we must change this. When the government comes for Muslims, Dreamers, refugees, Native Americans they come for me. When they come for my black brothers and sisters, they come for you. Want to make america great again? It aint been great yet.”

One of the speakers was Linda Sarsour who gained prominence as a social justice leader as an organizer for the Women’s March on Washington. Sarsour is a Palestinian-American who

“Coming together as anti-war activists, environmental activists, racial justice and religious freedom activists in solidarity is not just beautiful, but a matter of survival for marginalized populations in this country. We are a woke generation, and we say we’re on to you and we will not allow you to divide [us]. Intersectionality means working across movements to ensure when we organize, when we lose, when we win, we do all of this together.”

Greisa Martinez, an undocumented advocate and activist who works for the largest immigrant youth led organization in the nation- United We Dream spoke, calling us to stand with the undocumented people in America.

Bob Bland who helped to organize the Women’s March on Washington declared:

“Our country was founded on genocide and colonialism, slavery and rape. White folks, we must hold our own folks accountable. We must talk to our family members and our communities. It’s on us to stop the hate. We need to be here not just to march, but for the long term… This trump administration works for you. You pay their salaries. We are not asking, we are demanding respect.”

Parts of the rally were spoken in Arabic, and interpreted for those who didn’t speak the language. Also, before the march began Muslim people were invited to prayer before rally started.

A large part of the rally was made up of Yemeni-Americans. There is currently a humanitarian crisis in Yemen as Saudi Arabic bombs the country with US made weapons. Still, the Yemeni-Americans were some of the most patriotic of the crowd, with painted american flag faces and shouting “USA. USA. USA!” throughout the speeches.\

After the rally, as everyone was walking back we passed a red faced white man who was barreling down the street toward us with a fist pumping the air shouting “USA! USA! USA!” and everyone in the crowd started chanting with him. He was shocked to say the least, apparently not expecting that reaction and not realizing that the Yemeni-Americans had been chanting the same thing for the past two hours of the march.

Among the groups that helped organize the rally included the New York Immigration Coalition, Arab-American Association of New York, Arab-American Family Support Center, Chhaya Community Development Corporation, Council on American-Islamic Relations — New York, MinKwon Center for Community Action, and the Muslim Community Network.

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