2017-02-08 / Front Page

'Diversity Is Our Strength'

Rally For Justice


Hundreds gathered at a rally held in support of the Muslim American community in response to the presidential executive order banning travel from several Muslim-majority Hundreds gathered at a rally held in support of the Muslim American community in response to the presidential executive order banning travel from several Muslim-majority A rally was held in support of the Muslim American community in Astoria, and throughout the country. The rally was held in response to the presidential executive order banning travel from several Muslimmajority countries.

Speakers at the February 3rd rally, on the corner of 25th Avenue and Steinway Street, included Council Member Costa Constantinides, Congress Member Carolyn Maloney, Public Advocate Letitia James, state Senator Michael Gianaris, Assembly Members Aravella Simotas and Ron Kim, Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, the Muslim American Society of Queens, Ansob Center for Refugees, Council on American-Islamic Relations – NY Chapter and Muslim Democratic Club of New York. Immigration and refugee assistance groups were also on hand and provided information about resources available to families who may be affected by the executive order.


Demonstrators held signs and chanted in a peaceful, but impassioned protest of President Trump’s January 27th executive order banning travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries. 
Photo Catherina Gioino Demonstrators held signs and chanted in a peaceful, but impassioned protest of President Trump’s January 27th executive order banning travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries. Photo Catherina Gioino “Diversity is our strength. This is who we are. We’re all immigrants. Over 160 languages are spoken here in Queens, almost all of them are in Astoria. We’re here strong with our Muslim brothers and sisters tonight to say in one voice that we’ll never allow this man to attack us, to divide us, to hurt us, to hurt them, to divide families. But it’s also that this president has reached the inner demons of our society, right? We’ve seen young women having their hijabs ripped off, we’ve seen neighbors attack one another, we’ve seen hate on a consistent basis—hate crimes spike. All of these things are wrong, and we love one another and we stand for justice and equality,” Constantinides said.


Council Member Costa Constantinides, joined by state Senator Michael Gianaris and community activists, addressed the crowd that gathered to protest President Trump’s immigration ban. Council Member Costa Constantinides, joined by state Senator Michael Gianaris and community activists, addressed the crowd that gathered to protest President Trump’s immigration ban. Trump’s executive order was passed on January 27th, which suspended refugee settlements and barred people of certain nations from entering the United States, in the hopes of “protecting the nation from foreign terrorist entry into the United States.” The order called for an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees; a four-month ban on refugees from other countries. In addition, the president has placed a three-month entry ban on citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, all nations with a majority percentage of Muslims.

After a federal judge halted Trump’s order on February 4th, the Justice Department filed an appeal, claiming a person’s entrance to the country is a “sovereign prerogative” reserved only for the president.

Constantinides noted the demographic of participants were mostly young people, not even of voting age. “We have so many young people here today fighting for the America that they want, fighting for the America that they know. So many people are here tonight because they know we’re not about hate, we’re not about division, we’re not about pushing men and women away from our shores,” he said.

Since the order was passed more than a week ago, the Justice Department estimates around 100,000 visas were revoked.

Catherina Gioino contributed to this article

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