Zig Metzler is a Brooklyn photographer who attended the #NoBanNoWall protest in Manhattan this past Sunday, and this is the protest through her eyes.
This was the #NoBanNoWall protest in Lower Manhattan in the wake of the emergency protest at JFK on Saturday opposing Trump's executive order to block immigrants and refugees from countries with predominately Muslim populations. It began at Battery Park with guest speakers (Senators: Chuck Schumer, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand. Mayor Bill de Blasio, Public Advocate Letitia James, and Comptroller Scott Stringer). The crowd roared with approval for Senator Gillibrand who has voted against every single appointee of Trump's cabinet. This led to a march to the Immigration Office of New York. Crowd estimates range from 10,000 - 30,000 New Yorkers strong.
My partner and I were having breakfast on Sunday morning when we received a message that the organizers were looking for volunteers to photograph the event. We were more than happy to grab our gear and head over. I think we managed to stay together for a total of 5 minutes before each of us proceeded to shoot photos and march for the next 5 hours before reuniting to head over to Chinatown to support one of the thousands of immigrant-owned businesses that makes New York City (and this entire country) the great place it is.
This protest was diverse. People of all ages and nationalities were in attendance: lots of families, a pleasant amount of dogs, and one wonderful woman offering free coffee from several jugs donated from cafes all around the city. One thing I can say is that in contrast to the Women's March where it felt like people gearing up to show our numbers to one another, is that people are getting angrier. Not towards one another, as I saw so many strangers smiling, talking, and happily sharing their Sunday together. But towards what is happening.
I saw signs which called us to "Remember the St. Louis," the boat of 937 Jewish refugees who were turned away from Cuba, and then the U.S. in 1939 and were ultimately sent back to Belgium where hundreds of its passengers then died in the Holocaust. Syrians, who have been at civil war since 2011 — beginning with their peaceful protests that led to them being massacred by their own military (brutal attacks on civilians, including sexual violence, are being committed in line with State policy) — have been banned from seeking asylum in the United States not for 120 days, but indefinitely.
Trump's actions are not only flagrantly unconstitutional, they are making us less safe. Many of the refugees seeking a safe-haven in the U.S. have put their lives on the line helping American military forces combat terrorism abroad, and as a direct result, have put not only themselves, but their own children in harm’s way. Many of these people have lost family members because of their cooperation with us already. This order is an active choice to break our word to these people, to show them that America does not keep its promises. These actions alienate Muslims at home and abroad and confirm what ISIS says about us to anyone who may have otherwise been on our side: that we’re a state that's hostile to Islam. His initial attempt included taking away the rights of Green Card holders: people who have already gone through the screening and vetting process of being allowed to come and live here. No American has been killed in any terrorist attack, by any refugee, from the countries he has banned.
Trump is a danger to us all, including the most critically vulnerable human beings on earth. America is standing up to him. All over this country we are joining together to say, "No. We don't want this and you’re not doing it in our name.” No one here has forgotten that democracy is a verb and that we get to decide collectively what our government, who serves us, can and cannot do.