Another day brought another set of Chicago protests against President Donald Trump’s series of executive orders restricting the travel of immigrants and seven Muslim-majority countries’ citizens.
After a weekend of rallies at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, community organizers came together for a demonstration and march through downtown Chicago on a brisk and windy Wednesday evening.
About 200 gathered outside the Department of Homeland Security, and the crowd eventually grew to several hundred as they marched to Federal Plaza an hour after the rally began.
Frank Chapman, an organizer for the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, highlighted the group of speakers with an impassioned message to immigrants and President Donald Trump. Before calling Trump a liar, Chapman called on Chicagoans to resist the new administration’s policies.
“Power to the people,” Chapman yelled to the crowd outside the Department of Homeland Security.
While the sun had gone down by the time protesters started marching, the group’s energy didn’t dip. From 25-year-old Serbian Dusko Simic’s drumming, to the crowd’s dancing and jumping to chants led by a megaphone, the crowd was as enthusiastic as the thousands who had protested at O’Hare days earlier.
Hatem Abudayyeh, the executive director of the Arab American Action Network and one of the protest’s organizers, said although he believes he’s safe from Trump’s executive orders, he will continue to fight for his community.
“We don’t know how many countries are going to end up on this list,” said Abudayyeh, a Palestinian-American and U.S. citizen.
That list is part of a White House order banning citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States; citizens of Libya, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Kenya and Sudan aren’t allowed into the country for 90 days; citizens and refugees from Syria are banned indefinitely.
Although the so-called “Muslim-ban” has been the most contentious of Trump’s seven orders, Abudayyeh said he and other organizers first came together to plan protests in Chicago when Trump signed an executive order threatening to defund sanctuary cities Jan. 25. Sanctuary cities promise to protect their residents from the federal government’s efforts to deport undocumented immigrants.
“It’s not just about Muslims, it’s not just about Arabs, it’s not just about these seven countries,” Abudayyeh said. “It’s really emboldening.”