Burqueños march at Sunport in opposition to ‘Muslim Ban’

Originally published by the Daily Lobo
By Celia Raney

More than 1,000 demonstrators marched from the corner of Yale Boulevard and Renard Place to the Albuquerque International Sunport on Sunday afternoon, in a show of solidarity for immigrant citizens following President Donald Trump’s Executive orders restricting entrance to the United States from several countries.

Co-hosted by the Islamic Center of New Mexico and Showing Up for Radical Justice Albuquerque, the event came together in about 12 hours, joining a wave of similar demonstrations nationwide.

Shakir Farid Abdullah, an activist who helped organize the march, led most of the chants and invited anyone in the crowd to make their voices heard.

“We can do this and we can push back,” he said.

Abdullah also said he hopes people are inspired to get involved, and that they take away a message of hope.

Protestors hold signs and flags as they prepare to march to the Albuquerque International Sunport on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017.

Micah McCoy, communications director for the American Civil Liberties Union New Mexico, spoke before the march took off toward the airport.

McCoy informed protesters of an injunction filed by the ACLU against the constitutionality of the order, and an emergency stay that was issued Saturday evening by a federal court judge.

The stay protects from deportation any immigrants already in transit to the U.S. when the “Muslim Ban” — as it has come to be known — was signed.

“We came here to show support and solidarity,” McCoy said, on behalf of the organization. “This is the time to get involved… give your passions. The time for sitting back has come and gone.”

Gatherers kept the focus positive, with chants of “Open the door, let them in” and “Love, not hate, that’s what makes America great.”

Many speakers discussed how to move forward, and protesters held signs with words of unity such as “We stand with our Muslim brothers and sisters.”

The crowd even began to sing the national anthem once gathered inside the Sunport.

Peaches Blackbird, the president of Power Through Peace, said she helped with the event because she wants to “be the voice for people who can’t speak up for themselves.”

Many protesters and event organizers said they wanted to “promote love rather than hate,” Blackbird said.

Many students also came out to show their support Sunday.

Blaise Koller, a senior French major at UNM, said she was protesting because travelers with green cards and legal U.S. residency were not being allowed home.

She hoped the demonstration would make people think about human rights.

“Every person deserves human rights no matter where they’re from or what skin color or what gender,” Blaise said.

Some students participated simply “to support (their) brothers and sisters who are of foreign nationality or legally born here in the United States,” UNM student Anthony Jackson said.

Jackson said he hopes the new administration will see that “we’re here and we’re not gonna leave.”

Other students had deeply personal reasons for marching, like sophomore Chicano/a studies major Sophia Nuanez.

Nuanez said she has been troubled by what Trump has done since his inauguration. She said was marching for people like her dad, whom she said she is afraid for.

Nuanez said she does not want members of her family to be harassed just because they have darker skin.

Once inside the Sunport, marchers gathered in an open space near security checkpoints where Albuquerque Police Department officers were filtering people going up the escalators.

Only those with airline tickets were let through.

No violence broke out, though some travelers found the large crowd a hindrance and used their luggage to push their way out the doors as marchers flooded in.

As the demonstrators began to trickle back onto the streets, Daniel Jiron, public relations and marketing manager at the Sunport, thanked Abdullah for maintaining a peaceful event.

Abdullah concluded the march back outside the New Mexico Commission for the Blind by thanking everyone who came to show their support, encouraging everyone to please stay safe, and thanking APD for their help.

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