Messages of love for immigrants, refugees

An estimated 2,000 people joined the Minnesota Caravan of Love march organized by Mizna and the Twin Cities Anti-Hate Directive  that ended with music and speeches at the University of Minnesota’s West Bank. People also left love notes on the Washington Avenue bridge.

“Please come and walk with us for love; love for your immigrant neighbor, love for your Muslim classmate, love for your Syrian restaurant owner, love for your Somali state representative, love for your Mexican friend, above all, love for humanity,” organizers wrote ahead of the event. “Bring love notes and letters of hope, and let’s fill Minneapolis with love signs and love marks at a time that hate is forced upon us. Let’s show our love for humanity and stand by our immigrant communities who are in fear for their existence and and losing their hopes to be reunited with their loved ones.”


Scenes from ‘Speak Out Against Muslim Ban’ protest in downtown Minneapolis

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An estimated 5,000 people gathered between the U.S. Courthouse and City Hall in downtown Minneapolis Tuesday evening to take part in the Anti-War Committee’s “Speak Out Against Muslim Ban” protest.

The rally and march comes on the heels of President Donald Trump’s recent executive order temporarily banning refugees and travelers from seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the county. Syrian refugees are also indefinitely banned from the U.S.

Outrage builds after Trump issues order banning refugees, travelers from Muslim-majority countries

President Donald Trump’s executive order barring all refugees from entering the U.S. for 120 days, Syrian refugees indefinitely and travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries for three months has led to chaos, protests at airports across the country and prompted swift condemnation.

A federal judge in NYC has granted an emergency stay to allow people who have landed in the country with valid visas to remain in the country.

The American Civil Liberties Union, along with several organizations, had filed a lawsuit challenging Trump’s order on behalf of two Iraqi men who were headed to the U.S. on immigrant visas when the president issued the executive order. The president said the measures were designed to deter terrorism and disputed the characterization of the order as a ban on Muslims.

Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the country would take in refugees rejected by Trump.

State Rep. Ilhan Omar, the first Somali-American lawmaker in the country, is organizing a session Sunday, Jan. 29, 3-5 p.m., at 504 Cedar Ave. S. to discuss strategies to resist the travel ban targeting Muslims. “We will also begin to assemble resources to build safety toolkits to protect our Muslim families and neighbors. All are welcome to attend,” events organizers wrote.

protest against the Muslim ban is also planned for Tuesday, 4:30-6 p.m., at the U.S. Courthouse, 300 S. 4th St.

Omar is also urging anyone who knows someone impacted by the travel ban who been turned away from the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport or the state’s border with Canada, to contact her. “We have attorneys on standby willing to do whatever they can to help,” she posted.

Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN), said the organization will challenge the order and others likely to come targeting Muslims in a statement issued after Trump signed the order Jan. 28.

The order bans travelers from the Muslim-majority countries Somalia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya and Yemen.

“This is the first step in a Trump-era agenda that criminalizes faith, nationality, and people of color. It flies in the face of the American values we hold dear,” Hussein wrote. “We must remember, that the United States Constitution expressly protects individuals from persecution perpetrated by their own government. This includes bigotry based on faith, on nation of origin, and skin color.”

The organization is working with other civil rights group to fight the ban. CAIR is also planning an event, “1,000 who CAIR, a Call to Action: Challenging Islamophobia/Defending Civil Rights,” on Saturday, March 25 at the O’Shaughnessy Auditorium in St. Paul.

The event will kick-off a campaign to “activate 10,000 Minnesotans in the fight against bigotry and hatred,” according to organizers. Speakers lined up include noted Muslim scholar Dalia Mogahed, Khizr Khan, Rep. Ilhan Omar, Nekima Levy-Pounds, a civil rights lawyer and Minneapolis mayoral candidate, among many others.

Congressman Keith Ellison, the country’s first Muslim congressman, also blasted Trump’s order and pledged to fight it. In a Facebook post he wrote:

Minnesotans know that our country is at its best when our policies reflect our values of generosity and inclusion. We’ve opened our doors to immigrants and refugees from around the world, including Somalia and Sudan, and our community is better for it. They’re are our teachers, our doctors, and our small business owners. They’re our friends and neighbors. …

We can resist this radical agenda. But we have to stand together. As progressives. As immigrants. As neighbors. As Americans.

Today my spirit is with the Somali, Sudanese, and other immigrant communities in my district. I share their grief. Thousands of Americans have relatives and friends in the countries Trump has blacklisted, and I share in their anguish as well.

To everyone afraid of what this executive order will mean for you and your country, I say: “You are not alone. We are with you. And we will fight for you.”

Thousands to turnout for Women’s March Minnesota

Tens of thousands have signed up to take part in the Women’s March Minnesota on Saturday, Jan. 21 — one of 300 marches planned around the world by people committed to standing in solidarity with those who have felt marginalized by the rhetoric of the recent election.

More than 25,000 people have expressed plans to participate in the Minnesota event, which starts at 11 a.m. at St. Paul College and ends with a rally at the state Capitol at noon.

Speakers lined up for the rally include newly elected state Rep. Ilhan Omar, explorer Ann Bancroft, Clockwork Active Media CEO Nancy Lyons, state Sen. Patricia Torres Ray, Sara Stoesz of Planned Parenthood and Trista Matascatillo of Journey Home USA. Musicians Ann Reed and K. Raydio are the headlining entertainers.

In the nation’s Capitol, organizers are expecting around 150,000 for the Women’s March on D.C. The marches will take place one day after Donald Trump is sworn in as the nation’s 45th president.

Organizers of the Minnesota march started planning the event soon after the presidential election. Alicia Donahue, chair of the street team efforts for the march, said she went to bed the night of the election feeling defeated, but it soon subsided.

“I woke up the next day with this fire inside me that continues to burn,” she said.

Bethany Bradley, who handles public relations for the event, said she woke up “heartbroken” after Trump’s victory over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She had a hard time explaining to her three young children the outcome of the election, adding they call him Grump.

She said she was motivated to get involved in organizing the march as way to teach her children the importance of standing up for kindness and inclusiveness.

For Bradley, Donahue and the other key leaders of the event — Kate Redden and Jo Ann Tesar — planning for the march has become a full-time job. In addition to the core leadership team, 125 other volunteers have worked to make the Women’s March Minnesota a reality. The event has also attracted several sponsors and endorsements from organizations like the ACLU, Minnesota National Organization for Women and Planned Parenthood.

Bradley and Donahue said they hope people feel united, inspired and motivated by the march.

In a statement about the event, organizers wrote: “In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity and just who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers is too great to ignore. The Women’s March Minnesota will let the new administration know that women’s right are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.”

If You Go: Women’s March Minnesota

When: Saturday, Jan. 21 (march starts at 11 a.m. and rally at noon)
Where: March starts in Lot E of St. Paul College, 235 Marshall Ave., and ends with the rally at the state Capitol.
Get involved:  You can make a donation for the event on the website and also learn about how to volunteer as an event marshal.