Dozens of people gathered at the Torch of Friendship in downtown Miami on Thursday night with a strong message to President Donald Trump: Build a wall, and we will tear it down.
“It is so early in his administration, and we are already seeing some scary policies,” said Ruth Moreno, among those voicing their concerns.
The group of protestors — young, old, white, black, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, gay and straight — stood in solidarity after what many said was a series of “hurtful” orders Trump issued this week, including an executive order to build a border wall with Mexico.
Trump is expected to stop accepting Syrian refugees and sign an executive order banning people from seven majority-Muslim countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — from entering the United States.
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“The executive orders signed by President Trump just give a false sense of safety and security,” said Wilfredo Ruiz, the communications director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations Florida, an advocacy group. “We believe President Trump still believes he is on a campaign when he is already president.”
Ruiz said that by banning Muslims, Trump is further dividing the country. The measures, he added, imply that the United States does not have a thorough vetting process for refugees coming into the country. He said that wasn’t true.
“We felt it was urgent to act,” he said about putting the emergency protest together. “We have to come together and fight these xenophobic ideas.”
So several organizations — student-rights groups, immigration coalitions, and political and religious groups — stood shoulder to shoulder in front of the torch, which bears a tribute to John F. Kennedy. They held signs declaring “Refugees are Welcome Here,” “Stop Discrimination” and “We all belong here; We will defend each other.”
Alexa Meyers and her girlfriend Jacque Packar, who just came back from Saturday’s Women’s March in Washington, D.C., said that whenever someone’s civil rights are threatened, there is a reason to be concerned.
“No one ever should be allowed to make anyone feel less than,” Meyers said.