In below-freezing temperatures, a large crowd of people holding candles showed up to the Statehouse in Montpelier Wednesday evening, showing support for the Muslim and refugee communities in Vermont.
They stood in defiance of what many are calling a “Muslim ban,” after President Trump halted immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries.
At the rally, called Rise Up and Stand! Community Vigil with our Muslim and Refugee Community, speakers from Muslim, Jewish and Christian faith groups all addressed the crowd, which stretched out across the lawn.
Amanda Garces had started organizing the event just days before. “We are here to say, ‘No ban no wall!’” she said in a microphone to the growing group.
The crowd cheered back, “No ban no wall!”
She continued: “Because I am an immigrant and this is my home.”
James Lyall, the executive director of the Vermont chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, also took to the microphone. He gave words of encouragement to those who believe the ban to be antithetical to American values.
“The ACLU said after the election that to the extent Donald Trump tried to pursue his unconstitutional campaign promises, we would see him in court,” he reminded the enthusiastic audience. “Well, we’ve seen him in court, and we’re undefeated so far,” he continued.
Last weekend, after the ban was put in effect, courts in Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Washington, Virginia and Pennsylvania granted temporary allowances for people stranded in U.S. airports.
Lyall went on to applaud the actions of lawmakers, such as Republican Gov. Phil Scott, who publicly denounced the federal ban earlier this week.
But he encouraged the demonstrators to keep pushing lawmakers to speak out against the immigration ban.