Nation of immigrants turns its back on immigrants
March 1, 2017
What many people fail to realize is that America is a nation of immigrants. All of whom have traveled from all parts of the world with hopes of gaining sanctuary, justice, stability and freedom. Since the inauguration of the 45th president of the United States, America has been turning its back on both immigrants and refugees alike.
Donald Trump’s executive order called for an immediate suspension of immigration from seven prominently Muslim countries, and also called for the complete suspension of Syrian refugees for an indefinite term.
The travel ban, also known as Trump’s executive order, not only affected people outside of the U.S., but it also caused a ripple effect throughout the nation. Americans are standing against the order with #LetThemIn rallies held at airports, government buildings and in communities.
On Feb. 4, thousands of protesters gathered at the “Interfaith Rally” at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Midtown to support refugees fleeing violence and seeking sanctuary. They went to stand in solidarity with Muslims living in Georgia and all over the world.
As a Muslim refugee in the 21st century, I have learned to become more conscious about current issues that affect not only my life but also the lives of millions of refugees that reside in the U.S. In order to make a change, I push myself to become a voice for unification in my community, and I started my journey of activism by attending the Interfaith Rally.
Aisha Yaqoob was one of the organizers for the Interfaith Rally and Women’s March in Atlanta. Yaqoub has lived in Georgia all her life and was very surprised to see so many people unite to support Muslims and refugees.
“What was more amazing for me was seeing an issue that affects Muslims specifically and how many people really cared about us,“ Yaqoub said. “These people wanted to spend their Saturday afternoon to show solidarity with Muslims and I think that is more powerful than anything.”
I remember standing in line for prayer and this woman, a total stranger, tapped my shoulder and said ‘I don’t know how to pray,’ and I said, ‘just follow my lead.’
After the prayer was over, she asked where I was from, and I told her Somalia. She smiled and said “you are welcomed here and the whole community stands with you.” I smiled back and thanked her.
The rally was a life changing experience for me. For the first time, I felt truly welcomed as a refugee in America, and I felt a huge sense of unity and empowerment.
Seeing people with signs that said “We Love Our Muslim Neighbors” and being able to stand united with people that stood against the unjust and discriminatory orders made by Trump, I felt overwhelmed with joy, happiness and love. The rally has taught me to be an activist in my community and to not stand in silence regardless of the consequences.