Nearly 100 demonstrators held up signs reading “No Ban, No Wall on Stolen Land” as they listened to speakers condemn President Donald Trump’s America on Ho Plaza Tuesday, adding Cornell to the list of campuses nationwide that have been erupting in similar protests.
At the beginning, three of the organizers of the protest Skye Hart ’18, Emily Dong ’18 and Arwa Awan ’17, read a statement. The statement specifically denounced a recent executive order signed by Trump known as the “Muslim Ban.”
The executive order, which was signed on Friday, Jan. 27, banned entry from seven majority-Muslim countries. It has caused distress and confusion at airports as well as lawsuits filed from five different states, all of which challenge the legality of the president’s order.
“Since Trump has claimed that American shores are still open to Christian refugees from these countries, the ban rests on the presumption that Muslims from these countries are terrorists and that Islam is an inherently violent religion,” Awan read to the crowd.
The protest, however, went beyond criticizing American immigration policies under Trump.
“Our current grim reality is not merely because of Trump,” Dong read. “This has been the trajectory of American power since its inception, and therefore his actions simply continue America’s legacy as a racist, imperialist, patriarchal, white-supremacist, capitalist, settler-colonialist project.”
The statement also lambasted the founding of America on indigenous land, saying that “we resist Trump as fervently as we resist what the American state has inflicted on its oppressed people since it established itself as a power.”
“We need to question the American narrative itself,” read Dong.
The statement addressed policy brutality, rape among indigenous women and deportation rates among immigrants under Obama, insisting that the “stains” in America’s past are not new.
After the statement was read, protesters began to chant “No Ban, No Wall, No Fascist U.S. for All” and were invited to speak. The organizers also passed around a donation box for four different charities: Desis Rising Up and Moving, New York Taxi Workers Alliance, the Yemeni bodegas that closed down in solidarity and protest, and Casa Ruby.
Beth Harris, an activist in Jewish Voice for Peace-Ithaca and former Ithaca College professor, also spoke at the protest about U.S. support for Israel’s increased settlement efforts in the West Bank. Since Trump’s inauguration, 6,000 new housing units in Jewish-only settlements have been approved, according to Harris.
When asked why she came, Harris explained that she thinks it is critical to have unity in “connecting the issues around people who are targeted by Trump’s policies.”
“The protest creates a solidarity which we want to happen, and you can meet people who are doing different kinds of work, which strengthens our relationships,” she said. “I think it’s important for the students, the faculty and the administration on campus to know that the community is concerned about discriminatory and repressive policies and is going to stand up for justice.”