February 3,2017 by Abdullahi Janno
Just one day before the Inauguration, I walked into a standing line of Saint Paul Federation of Teachers holding up posters of reassurance and goodwill as students from refugee and immigrant backgrounds trickled into the school. Then came the Executive Order. But instead of apathy and complacency, it triggered a tsunami of solidarity and strong sense of civic duty as thousands braved the wintry streets across the nation. As a Muslim and immigrant, I’m overwhelmed by such level of support and goodwill for the new refugees and immigrants.
Much thanks to the conscious citizens peacefully opposing the blatant unconstitutionality of the ban while also siding with the vulnerable refugees. Much thanks to the judges and lawyers helping out the detained across the nation – and especially much thanks to our own one hundred Minnesotan lawyers taking turns at MSP International Airport. Much thanks to the religious leaders for voicing their distaste with the ban.
Not surprisingly, the ban gave ISIS the audacity to weigh in on the state of Muslims in America. Frankly, two camps have been proven wrong in the past few days: 1 – ISIS which thought the American public would just sit still, arms folded; 2 – the Trump Admin which underestimated the American conscience.
The public solidarity with the refugees is a constant reminder that America is a welcoming place. To borrow few lines from a poem by Warsan Shire, a Somali-British: “No one leaves home unless / Home is the mouth of a shark … / You only leave home / When home won’t let you stay … / You have to understand / That no one puts their children in a boat / Unless the water is safer than the land.”
President Trump’s stroke of the pen breathed an unintended energy into the American conscience – an energy which is a reflection of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s ideals: “If the fires of freedom and civil liberties burn low in other lands, they must be made brighter in our own.”
With the conscious thousands peacefully rallying for humanity across the nation after the Muslim ban, Americans from all walks of life have stood up for the values which make America a welcoming home, a home that’s safer than the water. True, we still have some legal work to do against the ban. And hope remains alive as long as our collective conscience remains alive. And with deep gratitude and great humility, I say thank you, fellow Americans, for the solidarity with the refugees and immigrants.
by Abdullahi Janno Tusmo Times contributor