The nation’s anti-Trump protests landed in Newark, with over 250 students and community members gathered at Rutgers-Newark to rally against President Donald Trump’s temporary immigration ban. Students from Rutgers-Newark, the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) and Essex County College organized the rally and focused on expressing solidarity with immigrants and refugees.
Students filled Samuel Norman Plaza with handmade signs and shouted along in responsive chants aimed at decrying Trump’s rhetoric. Organizers shouted “show me what an immigrant looks like!” and the crowd, in turn, shouted back “this is what an immigrant looks like!” When chants weren’t going, a few students perched on a railing slapped away at their wooden hand drums.
Phil Murphy, the Democratic candidate in New Jersey’s upcoming governor’s race, spoke at the rally and expressed solidarity. Murphy was the penultimate speaker and followed representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Working Families Alliance and other organizations. Student leaders, speaking to a Muslim-majority crowd, cited the Quran to promote the idea of a more-inclusive America.
Trump’s immigration ban, which temporarily halts immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries, drew the ire of Trump’s opponents and sparked spontaneous protests at airports this past weekend.
Trump’s supporters argue the ban is necessary to protect America’s national security, however, opponents denounce the policy and maintain that the executive order makes the United State’s less safe in the long run and goes against American values. Protestors at Rutgers-Newark echoed similar sentiments, with one student brandishing a sign that stated “the American dream is alive in every immigrants home.”
A few expletives were pointed at Trump on Wednesday, but students and community members set a positive and passionate tone for the event. The protestors were encouraged to turn the momentum of the rally into political action in the final speech.
Wednesday’s rally followed a larger rally at Rutgers New Brunswick on Tuesday night.