The heart of New York City, Times Square, saw thousands of people of all faiths, colors and walks of life converge on Sunday, Feb. 19, to express their support for Muslims targeted by the Trump Administration’s executive order which bars persons from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States.
The event, attended by community and faith leaders, entertainers, and the mayor of New York City, Bill De Blasio, auspiciously fell on the 75-year anniversary of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s signing of Executive Order 9066 – the edict that led to the internment of hundreds of thousands of Japanese Americans during World War II. Many view the ‘Muslim ban’ and the ‘Muslim registry’ promised by President Trump to be a precursor to a move to similarly confine American Muslims. A message depicted on placards scattered throughout the massive crowds read “Never again!” specifically in remembrance of the suffering and loss endured by Japanese Americans during that time – a promise to Muslim Americans of unwavering support.
The rally, which drew up to ten thou- sand participants, was organized by The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, a group led by Rabbi Marc Schneier, and entertainment and business mogul Russell Simmons, who expedited the event along with two other organizations.The Foundation was formed “to promote understanding and cooperation between and among ethnic groups and to reduce the existing tensions among diverse racial and ethnic communities”, as stated on their website. Simmons, a long time activist and native New Yorker, tweeted, “What an absolute incredible show of solidarity!”
American citizens are mobilizing across the country on the realization that an infringement of one American’s basic human rights is a sign that the rights of all are endangered – a point taken in a tweet by a rally participant, “ An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us! #iamamuslimtoo.”