Jersey City Answers the Call to Stand With Our Muslim and Immigrant Community

According to Jersey City police officials, more than 1,000 people gathered at last night’s rally to “Stand with our Muslim and Immigrant Community.” The rally, organized by activist Michael Billy, local community leaders and city official asked residents to, “Come out in solidarity and peace to show our strength in diversity as one of the most diverse cities in the nation.” I would say residents answered the call!

Speakers included:

Michael Billy, event organizer and community activist
Mayor Steven Fulop and Council President Rolando Lavarro
Ahmed Shadeed, President of The American Muslim Association
Father Gene Squeo, Hudson County Brotherhood and Sisterhood Association
Juan Cartagena, President of Latino Justice
Megan Johnson, Director of Church World Service
Mike McLean for the Jersey City Vigil for Refugees
Tracey Noelle Luz for the Jersey City Action Group
Dr. Imtiaz Syed, Chairman of the Subcontinent Peace Foundation
Ruthie Arroyo, North East Regional Coordinator for the International League of Peoples’ Struggle
Christian Fuscarino, Executive Director of Garden State Equality
Shaira Cruz, Secretary General of Anakbayan New Jersey
Arnold Williams, New Jersey League of Black and Latino Voters
And closing speakers: Fatma Abdelrasoul and Yousef Saleh

During and after the rally many attendees took to social media to share images and their thoughts. We’ve posted a few below.

Here are a few ways to stay involved:

The City Council is still considering applications for the Immigrant Affairs Commission. To apply, complete the Application for Municipal Public Service. The document is available on the City Clerk’s website.

Attend the event “Postcards From the Edge” on Thursday, Feb. 2 at Art House Productions (136 Magnolia Ave).  The event has been relocated to LITM (140 Newark Ave) due to plumbing issues at Art House. Write and send postcards to your Senators and other representatives to let them know what matters most to you. Can’t make the event? You can download a postcard from the Woman’s March on Washington website or make your own.

Attend the City Council Meeting at City Hall (280 Grove St.) on Wednesday, Feb. 8 at 6:00 pm. There has also been a Facebook event page created.

Get involved with one of these groups:

Jersey City Vigil For Refugees
Jersey City Peace Movement
Jersey City Action Group

Know other ways to get involved? Please let us know in the comments section.

“My grandparents were immigrants. I have lived overseas. I know how hard it is to start over in a new country, and how determined people must be in order to overcome the legal and social hurdles needed to succeed. We are all from somewhere, and I feel we owe it to each other to be understanding and kind as we try to do the best we can in making our way.” – Irene Borngraeber

“Thank you Jersey City for standing with our Muslim and Immigrant community! I’m proud to live in one of the most diverse cities in America.” – Kathleen Brown

“I went to the protest because I’m against the immigration and refugee ban signed by our president over the weekend and to support those who will be affected by it. One women who spoke pointed out the history of these kinds of restrictions in the US. She inspired me to continue the pressure through protest and resistance of President Trump administration and policies.” – Erin Daria

“After the first weeks of seeming incompetence & facist dictates from Donald Trump I felt the need to be around like minded individuals. The proposed travel bans make no sense from a security perspective and seem arbitrary at best. We are all immigrants and if we are unable to take in refugees fleeing war and tyranny then we are truly lost.” – Sean Coffee

“I’m so proud to be a part of this community. I love the way Jersey City comes together in support of others. Standing here in the shadow of Lady Liberty, President Trump’s ban on refugees and immigrants flies in the face of the very ideals she represents. We must not allow this to stand. ” – Dane Colon

“We were all made in a womb. We are all human before anything else. Immigrants you are welcome in Jersey City.” – Ceallaigh Fogonogelo Pender aka the #Vagilante

“Ellis Island has a Jersey City address. When people got off that island into their new home, the first place they saw was here, a place I currently call home for 14 years. I moved here because of the diversity and different cultures. And we all live here peacefully. I plan to stand up for my neighbors and friends as they enrich my life everyday.” – Meghan McKee

“The rally was a strong and profound statement that the population of this city stands with all of its citizens, as it is one of the most diverse cities in the United States. DO NOT STOP THERE!!!! Demand that the city follows through on making Jersey City a sanctuary city so all its residents can all feel at peace. Attend the City Council Meeting at City Hall on Wednesday, Feb. 8 at 6:00 pm.” – Catalina Aranguren

Feature photo was taken by Irene Borngraeber

Catherine Hecht

is the owner of Harmony Media, NJ, the publisher of Jersey City Independent and blogs about urban gardening at dig a path. She's lived in Jersey City since 1999 and resides in the Heights section with her wife Beth Achenbach, they were the first couple to file as legal domestic partners in Jersey City. Cat has over 10 years experience in communications, marketing and publishing, she's studied anthropology, art history, woman & gender studies, botany, ethnobotany, and herbology and she is a graduate of the Rising Tide Capital Community Business Academy. She is also is a community activist, registered voter, gay rights activist, art lover, gardener, environmentalist, and an animal advocate.