No human being is illegal
On Feb. 10 at 3 p.m., Ithaca College students banded together at free speech rock to rally against the anti-immigration ban. About 40 students gathered outside Campus Center to protest Donald Trump’s proposed immigration ban against immigrants entering the U.S. According to The New York Times, the ban would bar “for 90 days people from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States… It also bans all refugees for 120 days, and Syrian refugees indefinitely.” This ban encompasses thousands of visitors, students, workers, new immigrants and refugees from being in the U.S. It is extremely controversial whether or not a president should have the power to enact this ban. As Katherine Faulders and Alexander Mallin wrote for ABC News: “[Trump] and his administration have argued repeatedly that the first order falls within the president’s authority to ban any class of aliens deemed a potential threat to the security of the United States.”
IC students could not keep silent on this immigration ban. Students passionately chanted, “This is what democracy looks like,” as fellow IC community members stood up to speak their thoughts, sing their emotions and express their feelings through powerful poetry.
“There’s no way any of us can make a difference in our own country if we’re shutting people away and only being selective because I firmly believe immigration is based on white fascism,” Clare Nowalk, a first-year student and one of the head organizers of the event, said.
The message was clear — now is the time to stand up and not back down. This immigration ban may just be the first of many injustices we may face in upcoming years. Speakers urged listeners to take the anger they feel and channel it in productive ways like rallying, writing to representatives and standing up against injustices we see in our daily lives.
“The more you talk about it, the more you communicate it, change comes to the forefront of people’s minds. We need to go out and talk to the people who can make change,” Mike Moritz, second-year environmental studies major, said. Moritz is one of the founders of IC Futures club, one of many useful platforms on campus that cultivates passion for changing the world.
It is important that we continue to stand up against injustice. This immigration ban is unjust because a majority of people who immigrate to the U.S. do so for survival or to try to have a better life. People often tend to forget about injustices such as the immigration ban because it doesn’t directly affect them. To others who have witnessed the effects of the immigration ban, it is devastating to watch and even more difficult to forget.
“People can’t just forget. These are people’s lives. America is home for all of us. We need to take care of it and make sure that it’s not ruined,” Maria Bushby, said. Bushby is one of the coordinators of the event and said she has seen firsthand the stress this has brought to her friends and family.
Some IC students still believe in our governmental system despite the controversial issues and bans like the immigration ban that are currently being brought up for debate. This is supposedly the first of many proposals aimed at making America safe again, according to President Donald Trump: “We are going to do whatever’s necessary to keep our country safe,” he said.
With an unsure future ahead of us, we manage to find comfort and bravery in solidarity. Perhaps this is a positive side effect of our generation — we were raised in a world where we learned about peaceful, powerful people like Martin Luther King Jr., Eleanor Roosevelt, Maya Angelou and countless others who taught us change is possible through perseverance.
Raquel Belkin, who created the hashtag ICWelcomesEveryone, said: “I’m optimistic because the system is supposed to change, adapt and listen to our voice. Shutting people out isn’t the way to make peace and it isn’t the way to make the world a better place. It’s a way to create more hatred.”
Katie Siple is a second-year integrated marketing communications major who welcomes everyone with open arms except Donald Trump’s policies. You can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org