By Richard Allen

“This is America. This is our America, regardless of who’s in the oval office,” Kimberly Mohammed, a U.S. Army veteran who volunteers with the Kentucky Refugee Ministries, said. 

Mohammed was one of over 5,000 people at the Muhammad Ali Center Jan. 30 to support those affected by the new travel ban on specific Muslim-majority countries. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, who criticized the ban, organized the rally. 

Fischer said the ban runs against American beliefs, a seemingly universal sentiment in the tightly packed space. He also said Louisville police doesn’t arrest people with immigration violations, which was met with a roar of approval.

Fischer did not, however, say Louisville would become a “sanctuary city.”  

The cold night air was filled with chants of “Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here” and signs ranging from “Free hugs” to “Make racists scared again” and “We’re all immigrants.” The low temperature did little to impact turnout, as supporters were still arriving after the event ended.

Senior geography major Andrew Newton already showed his support for Muslim immigrants at an American Turkish Friendship Association event Jan. 28. 

“It’s not about ‘helping’ anyone, it’s about understanding that our humanity and mutual interests are all tied in together,” Newton said. “And if any one of us are oppressed, not one of us can live our true humanity.”

Muhammad Ali Rally, Richard Allen,

Photo by Richard Allen / The Louisville Cardinal

This protest joins many carried out due to President Donald Trump’s executive order last weekend. The order bans those from Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen for 90 days and suspends all refugee intake for 120 days. Syrian refugees are banned indefinitely. The order has been met with harsh criticism from the international community and American public.

Muhammad Ali Rally, Richard Allen,

Photo by Richard Allen / The Louisville Cardinal

Featured Photo by Sarah Rohleder / The Louisville Cardinal