By Charles Sercombe
Hamtramck – the city known for its diverse ethnic makeup — served as a backdrop last Sunday afternoon for those opposing President Trump’s ban on travelers coming from seven predominantly Muslim nations.
It was estimated that about 1,000 people turned up at Zussman Park to hear speakers denounce Trump’s ban. In between speakers the crowd, which remained peaceful, chanted:
Refugees are welcomed here”
Several local officials also spoke out.
School Boardmember Sal Hadwan said the Hamtramck School District is now a safe haven for immigrant students, and he challenged other school districts to follow Hamtramck’s example.
“We are out here as humans – nothing else,” said Hadwan, who is a Yemeni-American.
Yemen is one of the countries included in Trump’s travel ban.
City Councilmember Ian Perrotta called the ban “probably the most un-American thing to do.”
Ferndale Mayor Dave Coulter, who described Ferndale as “Hamtramck north,” said the outpouring of those opposing the ban is a sign of solidarity with those being banned from the country.
“We stand with you,” he said. “You are not alone.”
Despite cold weather and a cutting wind, those attending remained for the two-hour event. During the afternoon the gathering grew as more and more people showed up. Many came bearing signs.
Some of the more interesting signs said:
“Love Trumps Hate”
“We weep today with Lady Liberty”
“Tiny hands, Tiny thoughts”
After the series of speakers, those attending marched around Zussman Park. Some also carpooled to Metro Airport where another protest rally was being held.
Many of those at the rally said they felt exhilarated by the turnout.
“It was very inspiring,” said Kelly Pino of Hamtramck. “Do the Republicans not know we are going to vote in 2018?” Pino said. “They have lost control of him (Trump).”
Nationwide there were dozens of protests held at airports. The ban was instituted without prior notice and it caught many travelers from the banned countries by surprise.
A number of them were either turned away or held for questioning. Despite federal court orders to halt the ban, a number of border guards continued to hold travelers and refused to allow attorneys to talk with those being held back.
The ban is in effect for 90 days.