The #MuslimBan is personal for me – as it should be for every soul on the face of planet earth. I will not respond with silence, indifference or hatred; I will respond with love, resistance and power. TEN CONCRETE ACTION ITEMS BELOW.
While I am neither Muslim, nor a citizen of the seven countries Trump has barred from entering the United States, I am a human being. This is unconstitutional, inhumane, shameful, appalling, and offensive, not to mention entirely baseless, senseless, and counterproductive.
I am on a plane over the USA right now – a United States citizen born to a Jewish mother and Christian father, free to come and go as I wish, while hundreds of thousands who hold citizenship of Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Libya are NOT permitted to enter – for at least 90 days, perhaps indefinitely. This Executive Order includes permanent US residents with green cards (which a DHS spokesperson needed to clarify, shockingly), dual citizens of one of the above-stated countries AND another country (even our strongest allies, for example the UK citizen traveling from Costa Rica via New York earlier today), and those with valid visas to live and work in our country (like the people detained at JFK this morning, included one who worked with the US military in Iraq for years, denied entry on arrival, and told to go back to the war-torn nation).
Next week, 2,000 refugees and asylum seekers were scheduled to arrive in the US. 850 of those vulnerable individuals from the 7 above-mentioned countries have been cancelled, per HIAS.
These are peaceful, prayerful people fleeing unimagined persecution and violence, like those Syrian families whose stories I told in a recent photo essay. Note that refugees go through THE most stringent vetting process of any group seeking to enter the United States; it takes years and is comprehensive. Trump himself confirmed that Christian refugees will be prioritized, if and when the program resumes.
Don’t fool yourself: this is anti-Muslim discrimination, targeting and blocking human beings on the basis of faith.
Major political ramifications are already being felt throughout the world: Iran has closed its borders to US citizens, the Iraqi parliament is considering retaliatory banning of all visas for Americans, more will surely follow suit. Trump’s Executive Orders, like his tweets, have the capability to rattle a highly tenuous, fragile global landscape; to say that he can provoke war with one action is to speak truth, not at all dramatized.
None of this is even remotely normal or in any way acceptable; do not allow yourself to become desensitized or fatigued. Organize and recommit to the work of liberty and justice for every person, every place, every single day.
How do we resist, protest and fight? Add your ideas – but more importantly, make them a reality!
1) PROTEST. Take to the streets. Show up at government buildings. Make your voice heard loud and clear. If you are in NYC, there is a growing demonstration at JFK happening right now. Many more are scheduled for cities nationwide.
2) Call friends, family, acquaintances, colleagues, and classmates who may be affected by the ban. First of all, reach out with a message of love. Tell them NOT to leave the country, even if permanent residents or visa holders. Companies like Google and universities like Princeton are directing employees and students to remain in the US until further legal confirmation.
3) Donate to the ACLU Nationwide, local chapters, and other legal organizations that already have increased workloads. Filing lawsuits on behalf of the people costs money.
4) Donate to the International Rescue Committee, HIAS, and other organizations large and small that do critical work on behalf of refugees, which only continues to intensify and expand.
5) Pick up the phone to tell your Senators, Congresspeople, White House, local elected officials that this ban does NOT reflect American values or the American people – and must be fought at every level by method and means available.
6) Offer professional services. If you are or work for a lawyer, specifically an immigration lawyer, you are needed NOW!
7) Stand boldly AGAINST the ban and in solidarity with all affected. Tweet, Facebook, Instagram, heck Snapchat how you feel. Engage friends, family, and random passersby. Use hashtags to amplify the conversation. #MuslimBan #NoBanNoWall #Resist
8) Share stories of how immigrants and refugees have made America what it is, have made America great for centuries. Preach! Praise! Shout it from the rooftops! Shift the narrative away from one of fear!
9) Call upon religious leaders to unequivocally denounce this Executive Order. Such actions are not in line with any faith. Period.
10) Reach out to immigrants and refugees. Face to face, if possible. Screen to screen. Keyboard to keyboard. Pen to pen. Build bridges, find common ground, and unite.
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