Hundreds Pack Washington Square Park to Protest Trump Travel Ban

Hundreds Pack Washington Square Park to Protest Trump Travel Ban


By Tara Grimes

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The voices of about 500 people carried throughout Washington Square Park Sunday afternoon, calling for President Donald Trump to rescind his executive order.

“No ban, no wall, our America is for all,” they chanted.

Several speakers appeared at the rally, including Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, refugees and immigrants. One of the speakers called this “a time of unprecedented peril for our constitution and democracy.”

With signs stating “immigrants make us strong,” “my generation will not accept fear as justification for ignorance or discrimination” and “welcome refugees,” protesters said they will not stand for it.

“Banning an entire group of people from the United States is the most fundamentally un-American thing we could do,” Brighton resident Sushmita Patil, 16, said. “The man in our White House isn’t really portraying what America is. That’s why we are here, to show what America is. “

“Isn’t immigrants what we’re basically made of?” added her brother, 11-year-old Piyush Patil.

“America has long been committed to protecting human rights and to protecting people who are otherwise unable to protect themselves,” Rochester resident Alistair Glidden said. “In this case, that takes the form of accepting refugees and helping people who are literally facing slaughter in their own countries.”

For Laura Phonharath, the fight hits close to home. Her parents fled Laos in the early 1980s during a time of civil unrest. She said her mother spent three years in a refugee camp until a family in Fairport sponsored her settlement.

“It’s really unfair to keep people from this country, people who are legally able to enter this country, refugees, those with valid visas and immigrants,” Phonharath said.

Those there said in addition to already having an extensive process for refugees and immigrants, this is not the way to combat terrorism.

“I think there are a variety of tools that we have at our disposal that we could use a lot more effectively than saying to people, ‘Oh well hey, you can’t come in,’” Glidden said. “I don’t think that’s the right way to go about it.”

“More acts of hate only create more acts of hate,” Rochester resident and American Baptist Church Rev. Katie Jo Suddaby said. “I think the thing that we need to do is have serious conversations with our Muslim brothers and sisters about what has been done wrong, and what has been done wrong both internationally and here at home.”

“We definitely need good, progressive immigration policies, but this isn’t it and shouldn’t be,” Phonharath said.