February 10, 2017 by Gina Vitale
More than 2,000 people protested President Donald Trump’s travel ban in Center City, Philadelphia as part of the Feb. 4 March for Humanity, according to NBC10.
The march began at Thomas Paine Plaza around 1 p.m. and did a circuit up Chestnut Street to Independence Hall and back down Market Street through City Hall. During the march, protesters chanted, “no hate, no fear, refugees are welcome here,” and “love, not hate, is what makes America great.”
“We will not stand by quietly after the executive order that bans refugees and immigrants from seven Muslim countries (Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen). We oppose the ban and any other action that harms our communities or treats people with indignity,” the description in the Facebook page for the event, titled “Philadelphia March for Humanity — #SanctuaryEverywhere,” said.
The March for Humanity was planned as a response to the executive order Trump signed Jan. 27, prohibiting the entrance of most refugees into the United States for 120 days. The order also banned immigrants from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia for three months.
Another executive order was signed by Trump Jan. 25 intended to withhold federal funding from cities designated as sanctuary cities. There is no exact definition of sanctuary cities, but in general they are cities that have more protections for illegal immigrants. Because it does not hold undocumented immigrants in custody for nonviolent crimes, Philadelphia is considered a sanctuary city, and its federal funding could have been under threat from this executive order.
According to Philly.com, Mayor Jim Kenney has said that the designation has recently been renamed from “sanctuary city” to “Fourth Amendment city,” and that he plans to keep it that way.
“We respect and live up to the Fourth Amendment, which means you can’t be held against your will without a warrant from the court signed by a judge. So, yeah, we will continue to be a Fourth Amendment city abiding by the Constitution,” Kenney said.
Drexel University President John A. Fry has also conveyed intentions to support foreign students in light of the travel ban.
“These members of the Drexel community [international students] have our strongest backing. In support of them, I have joined my academic colleagues nationwide in petitioning the President to reconsider this executive order,” Fry wrote in an email to students on Jan. 29.
The American Friends Service Committee, a non-profit Quaker organization that advocates for human rights, hosted the March for Humanity. The AFSC was founded during World War I to protest violence, and co-received a Nobel Peace in 1947. Today, it continues its original mission to promote peace through organized events.
More information about the organization the hosted the March for Humanity can be found at https://www.afsc.org/.