By Elle Roberts, AFSC Indiana Peacebuilding Program Assistant
On Friday, January 26, 2017, leaders from Indiana Undocumented Youth Alliance (IUYA), Muslim Alliance of Indiana, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) - Indiana, and the Indiana office of AFSC gathered in solidarity with community members to express dissent regarding the new administration’s executive order interpreted as and effectively meant to act as a #MuslimBan.
The order denies entry of all travelers including long-term or permanent U.S. residents from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen — all Muslim-majority countries — for 90 days. The order also extends to refugees from these areas for 120 days and specifically bans Syrian refugees indefinitely.
Dozens of Hoosiers came together on the plaza at City Market to proclaim #NoWallNoBan in solidarity with direct actions and protests across the country. Cinthya Perez spoke on behalf of IUYA, highlighting struggles undocumented immigrants have faced long before the discriminatory executive order was issued. “Our undocumented community has been a target for many years. Under the Obama administration more than 2.5 million people were deported or forced to leave the country.”
Rima Shahid, executive director of Muslim Alliance of Indiana, said, “The United States of America was established as a beacon of light for those escaping persecution in their own homes, and we will not stand for intolerance in our country.” The community-led, faith and hope-filled sentiment was a common thread for each speaker and those in attendance.
Malkah Bird of JVP remarked, “Judaism and other faith traditions command us clearly: Love our neighbors. Welcome the stranger.”
“We need sanctuary, not walls.” proclaimed Erin Polley, program coordinator of AFSC Indiana, to loud applause. Jesus Ramirez of IUYA rallied the crowd with a rousing closing chant, “Stand up! Fight back! All immigrants are welcome here!”
These four organizations, among others with support from community members statewide, are committed to making Indiana an inviting and safer place for all travelers, immigrants, and refugees — Hoosier hospitality at its finest.
To get involved in this effort, please contact Elle at ERoberts@afsc.org.