by Cindy Pena
The Social Justice committee of the Student Government Association (SGA) organized a rally in the Student Circle of Central Connecticut State University last Thursday night. About one hundred individuals participated to support refugees, undocumented individuals and immigrants; and to protest the recent executive orders made by President Donald Trump.
One of which was to build a wall along the border shared with Mexico to prevent illegal immigration and another banning travelers from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen from entering the country for 90 days.
“I was shocked and devastated. I could not believe people escaping oppression and persecution were banned from coming to the United States,” said Sawera Hussan, Vice-chair of the Social Justice Committee, adding these actions do not represent the United States.
“I know discriminating someone based on their race or religion does not align with American values. I know that the American people are by my side and the CCSU community stands in solidarity with the Muslims,” said Hussan, a proclaimed Muslim-American.
Jose Diaz, a senior at CCSU, explained the impact Trump’s executive action had on him and his family, who are not currently documented. He stated his mother and brother, both living in Georgia, face the constant fear of deportation.
“Me being here in Connecticut, that makes me feel hopeless because I can’t do anything,” said Diaz. “That is how so many families are feeling right now; we need to take a minute and acknowledge that. It’s because of my mom and dad that I am here today at CCSU getting an education.”
Despite the cold weather, the march attracted attention from students, professors and even Sodexo workers.
One student who marched in the rally, Mariano Cardoso, was inspired by the unity and acceptance that CCSU promotes.
“I been fortunate enough to see that in Central, they are welcoming to people. They are accepting to all Latinos and Muslims. It’s beautiful to see that people actually care,” said Cardoso.
Sophomore, Hiba Khan, knows the challenge citizens face in making the change that they want. However, she is still determined to do what she feels is right.
“I know everyone says protests don’t do anything, rallies don’t do much, but it gives everyone hope that something can happen and there will be change,” said Khan, who handed out heart pins at the rally.
The rally came shortly after the riot at the University of Berkeley that led to bloody attacks with objects like flagpoles and thousands of dollars in damaged property. Protests also erupted after Milo Yiannopoulos, a controversial conservative, was scheduled as a guest speaker.
That violent behavior was not promoted in the CCSU rally, according to Christopher Marinelli, chair of the Social Justice Committee and Senator of the SGA. He explained to the participants, like the ones at UC Berkeley are not effective; it is peace and respect that truly help the cause.
“The importance of this, is that we are peaceful because when we are peaceful and we are loud but affirmative and polite, we are able to make a difference. If we are violent we lose that platform, we forfeit it,” said Marinelli.
Marinelli explained that for Hussan, Diaz, Cardoso, Khan and any other person impacted by Trump’s recent action, Republicans and Democrats must have dialogue, compromise and unity.
“I want everyone here to feel welcomed whether you voted for Trump or whether you voted for Hillary, if you are Republican or Democrat,” said Marinelli. “I want you here and I want you to feel safe. I want you to feel welcomed because without a discussion, without us coming together and speaking, we will never solve the issues that both of our sides want to solve.”