Students rally in #NoBanNoWall protest

first_imgStanding in front a “F-ck Trump” banner with her microphone in hand, Student Coalition Against Labor Exploitation member Nadja Barlera led a crowd of students and faculty in a series of chants, including “This is what democracy looks like” and “When Muslim lives are under attack, what do we do? Stand up; fight back.”The #NoBanNoWall Solidarity Rally took place on Friday at Tommy Trojan, with protesters calling for the University to take a stronger stance against President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration and the travel bam.The rally was sponsored by the Muslim Student Union, the Black Student Assembly, Students Organize for Syria, Students for Justice in Palestine and SCALE.After a period of chanting, MSU Secretary Noha Ayoub demanded that the University explicitly condemn the ban on people traveling to the United States from seven Muslim-majority countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.“We call upon the university to allocate more resources in the form of attorneys and counselors to act as legal and emotional support for students and staff who need it,” Ayoub said. “ We call upon the University to not only listen to our demands, but to actually meet them because if there is anything we’ve learned from this past campaign season, it’s that pretty words of support do nothing to protect real lives from a demagogue who wields his supporters like an army.”International students compose approximately 25 percent of USC’s student body, and it is these students that MSU President Aamna Asif praised for enriching the USC community in her speech at the rally.“[International] students are vital to the community service work that’s being done here in Los Angeles as well as in other cities,” Asif said. “Working with homeless populations on Skid Row as well as blood drives here on campus … as well as the resettlement program of refugees done by Students Organize for Syria, these students are integral to the fabric of this University, to the city and to the country.”Asif also declared the MSU and its prayer space in the University Religious Center a safe space for those who feel threatened by the current administration.“We hereby declare USC’s MSU as a sanctuary organization for anyone who may feel victimized by this administration,” Asif said. “We also want to declare the prayer space at the URC a safe space where you can find support and safety among your Muslim brothers and sisters.”Executive director of BSA Ahlia Bethea also spoke at the rally, referencing the civil rights leaders of the 1960s and calling for solidarity with people belonging to marginalized groups.“Today we stand in solidarity with the members of the marginalized, oppressed and targeted communities, whose livelihoods are in jeopardy as a result of the most recent executive orders” Bethea said. “Our voices — all of our collective voices — must come together to abolish racism, religious bigotry, xenophobia and ignorance.”Political science professor Ange-Marie Hancock said she wanted to give a voice to faculty members who felt that their jobs would be threatened if they spoke out against the administration. She also explained that, as a Christian, she feels obligated to stand with Muslim immigrants and refugees.“I also want to speak on behalf of the Christian community,” Hancock said. “The book of Exodus tells us that we are not to turn away what they call in the Bible ‘resident aliens,’ meaning refugees.”Rawan Tayoon, the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, reacted strongly against Trump’s travel ban, heading to LAX on Sunday to protest the detainment of an Iraqi woman with breast cancer. Police allegedly told her that if she stepped off the road, they would look into the woman’s case. However, when Tayoon realized that they did not intend to meet her demands, she refused to get off the street, leading to a confrontation between her and a police officer.Ultimately, Tayoon was arrested and is set to appear in court on May 1.“[My] immediate goal was to get the people who were detained released,” Tayoon said. “I was focusing on an Iraqi woman [who] has breast cancer and wasn’t able to access her medicine. I saw her four kids who were waiting for her … and I felt we had to get that woman out.”For Tayoon, the importance of rallies like #NoBanNoWall is to demonstrate that many people on campus do not support xenophobia and bigotry. She said that these protests make her feel protected even though the current president has insisted on portraying immigrants from Muslim-majority countries in a negative light.“The thought of no one being here and no one protesting this ban would be really scary to me,” Tayoon said. “It would have meant that everyone was okay with it.”Following Hancock’s speech, Ayoub recited Maya Angelou’s 1978 poem, Still I Rise to cheers from the audience.She also invited attendees to walk with her to Masjid Omar Ibn Al-Khattab after the rally to observe the congregational prayer and khutbah, or Friday sermon.last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *