'We're All Humans': Immigrants Speak Out at #NoBanNoWall Rally in San Francisco - NBC Bay Area
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'We're All Humans': Immigrants Speak Out at #NoBanNoWall Rally in San Francisco

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Thousands of people flocked to San Francisco for a #NoBanNoWall rally amid a second straight week of uncertainty over President Donald Trump’s immigration order. Laura Malpert reports. (Published Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017)

    Thousands of people flocked to San Francisco for a #NoBanNoWall rally amid a second straight week of uncertainty over President Donald Trump’s immigration order.

    Roughly 22,000 people expressed interest on Facebook in resisting a move labeled by organizers as "racist and exclusionary," and 10,000 were expected to attend.

    The four organizers of Saturday's rally were children of refugees and immigrants and wrote, "The intention of this event is to create space for our community to voice our beautiful stories and tribulations."

    #NoBanNoWall Rally Draws Droves of Protesters#NoBanNoWall Rally Draws Droves of Protesters

    The gathering on Civic Center Plaza was passionate and loud, but peaceful, with protesters carrying signs that read "No immigrant ban" and “Fight ignorance not immigrants." The crowd chanted "We're all children of immigrants" and "This country is already great and immigrants are the ones that make it great."

    Organizer noted that the event was planned before the news of the temporary appeal. However, their fight is far from over as the Justice Department files a notice to appeal the federal judge's ruling.

    "If we remain vigilant, if we remain strong, if we remain together, it won't happen again," former Congressman Mike Honda said to the crowd.

    Participants said they attended the rally to fight against discrimination based on religion and national origin. A sentiment, speakers said, was at the heart of the ban on travelers and immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

    To make their point, some children dressed in white robes, known as thobes, and a handful of Muslim men practiced their faith outside City Hall.

    "This country was built on immigrants, for immigrants, by immigrants, and to close the borders and say, 'We are not going to allow immigrants,' is anti-American," said Rahel Ruiz, a refugee from Ethiopia who now lives in Castro Valley.

    Norma Chili of Novato agreed.

    "Everything Trump is doing is so against our country and against the world that there's no reason to not come out and complain vehemently and complain about everything he's doing," she said.

    Earlier that morning, a group that calls itself SF United Against Trump met at the Women's Building on 18th Street. The event attracted about 4,000 on Facebook, with another 20,000 people marked interested.

    As the rain drizzled outside, hundreds came in person to sharing ideas, reflections and stories at a microphone.

    While some speakers drew claps and support, others prompted criticism. 

    Working committees on climate protection, immigrant legal workshops and more were drafted for the next hour, with the next large demonstration proposed for Feb. 20, President's Day.

    Meanwhile, on the Peninsula, volunteer lawyers were on standby at San Francisco International Airport where Customs and Border Patrol officers have been told to process people temporarily as if the immigration ban didn't exist.

    "We're glad for that. We're grateful that we finally have a little bit of calm here at San Francisco airport," said Chelsea Haley Nelson, an immigration attorney.

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