At 5:30 p.m. on Thursday evening, a stream of Penn students marched down Walnut Street chanting “No hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here.”
After several speeches on College Green, the Penn March for Immigrants made their way to Walnut Street, turned back toward the 38th St. bridge to head toward 40th St., then did a loop to finish the protest at Steinberg-Dietrich Hall on Locust Walk.
The march was promoted on Facebook and sponsored by a number of campus groups including Penn Democrats, Penn for Immigrant Rights, Penn Environmental Group and Penn Arab Student Society.
The purpose of the march was to both protest Trump’s executive order banning immigrants from seven Muslim-majority nations and to show solidarity with members of the Penn community affected by the order.
“I’m here to show support for the Muslim community and the immigrant community because I feel as though I’m just as much of an American as they are,” College sophomore Kelsey Farenhem said.
College freshman Abdullah Noaman spoke to the group before the march about what it felt like to be an Iraqi citizen and his uncertainty over whether he could return home this summer to see his mother.
“It’s been tough and tiring for us, but my friends’ support and kindness gets us through,” Noaman said. “This is what the American people are all about and we will get through this together.”
College freshman Isaias Jacinto echoed these sentiments in his speech about what it was like to be a Mexican-American citizen.
“This [wall] will make it so much harder for me to see my family in Mexico,” Jacinto said. “We are marching today to show Mr. Trump that he will not tear us apart.”
Students participating in the march said they were proud about the efforts Penn has been making to support the immigrant community.
“I really think it’s important to show solidarity, especially now when people can feel that the whole world is against them,” College sophomore Andreina Lamas said.
Other students felt that even more could be done on campus to protest Trump’s order.
“F**k Trump, punch a Nazi,” graduate Design student Brett Davis shouted during the march. “Passive resistance isn’t good enough,” he clarified. “I would like to see more people angry and more people engaged.”
Members of Penn Democrats at the march said they hope to continue their work in the coming weeks by following through on the two petitions passed around during the march. One petition in solidarity with the immigrant community will be presented to the administration. The other pressures Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) to act as the final Republican senator needed to reject Betsy DeVos’ appointment as secretary of education, and the group intends to print 5,000 copies of the petition once they reach 5,000 signatures.
“I think that now more than ever it’s important to provide spaces for people to come together and to show their opposition to Trump’s actions,” PennDems president and College sophomore Rachel Pomerantz said. “Passive disapproval isn’t enough, you have to say it and say it loudly.”
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