Updated Feb. 2, 2017.
(By: Zena Salem)
Canadians took to the streets to protest President Donald Trump’s signing of the executive order to ban refugees from entering the U.S from predominantly Muslim countries.
The demonstration was created to bring together and unite people against Trump’s new order, near the U.S consulate on Jan. 30 in Toronto, ON.
Trump recently signed an executive order to prohibit refugees from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Since the order, refugees and immigrants from these countries have been detained at airports and families have struggled to gather.
Samaa Abou Hussein, a first-year Ryerson nursing student, attended the protests recalled the importance of diversity and unity.
“To me, attending a protest such as this one is not only about taking a stand against what defines our values and beliefs,” said Hussein. “It is about showing one another that we are not alone.
“I was proud at the amount of Muslims I saw out there, standing against an order that clearly degrades us just because of our faith,” added Hussein. “You saw the Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Atheist, the black, the white, the elder, the child – everyone together fighting for the rights and freedoms of our fellow human beings.”
Others shared a relatable perspective. John Oskaboose Jacobs, who is a First Nations tribe member, showed solidarity at the demonstration, to protest against Trump’s refugee and immigrants entrance prohibition policy.
“We [the first nations community] are pretty sympathetic to that, because that is what happened to our people, we know what that is like, we have been dealing with 500 years of colonization, and it is still going on in different countries,” said Jacobs.
Attorney generals from at least 16 states have declared the policy illegal and a federal judge has already ordered the motion to be overturned.
Trump doesn’t seem phased by the protest and has continued to defend his order. In a recent tweet, he said: “Everybody is arguing whether or not it is a BAN. Call it what you want, it is about keeping bad people (with bad intentions) out of country!”
Nobody can be quite sure what will happen next, but even those who aren’t affected by the order have stood strong and promoted unity.
“As a Jewish woman, what brings me here is that as a little girl, I studied the holocaust in my Jewish religious education. I see the same thing happening again, but to my Muslim brothers and sisters,” said Tracey Erin Smith. “I will not stay silent with what I see happening.”
The people in Toronto loudly made their opinions known through a chant.
“The people, united, will never be defeated.”