Organizations including the Muslim-cultural Students Association, Immigrant Justice Project, Native American Indigenous Student Alliance, MEChA de Northwestern, Students for Justice in Palestine, Black Lives Matter Northwestern, Alianza and Northwestern University Community for Human Rights demonstrated support for the Muslim community. Representatives from several of these organizations presented statements of solidarity.
Students flood the crosswalk at Sheridan and Foster after walking out of classes around campus.
Students gather outside of the Multicultural Center, waiting for speakers to begin.
The walk-out began at 3:10 p.m. and students gathered in front of the Multicultural Center at 3:30 p.m. to hear from student speakers and community members. The gathering aimed to “serve as a space centered on Muslim voices on campus and shed light on the American Muslim experience in a time of heightened bigotry and hate,” according to a press release.
Protesters stood in near freezing temperatures for over two hours. The demonstration began with a walk-out meant to symbolize unity and ended with an Islamic prayer circle at sunset.
Students from the seven countries targeted by the Trump administration’s immigration ban and their allies were invited to speak. “When you say ‘ban’ you're not just erasing my identity,” Rowan Hussein, a Sudanese American said. “You're erasing me.”
The organizers encouraged protesters to contribute to local organizations working to ameliorate problems caused by the travel ban. By the end of the walkout and march, over $1,000 had been raised.
The protesters pass through the arch on their way from the Multicultural Center to Harris Hall.
Protesters chant from the steps in front of Harris Hall in the last stage of the demonstration. Chants included “No hate, no fear. Immigrants are welcome here.”
Students hold homemade signs while chanting "No hate, no fear, immigrants are welcomed here."
Syrian American Weinberg senior Nora Jandali speaks about her parents' journey to America from Syria. "Ironic, isn't it?" Jandali said. "They escaped one tyrannical leader, only to be confronted by another."
Photos by Claire Bugos and Mia Zanzucchi / North by Northwestern
At 3:10 p.m. on Feb. 1, Northwestern students walked out of their classes and went straight to the Multicultural Center. A white flag dangled from the building, with a message sprawled across the sheet in black paint. It read, “Nothing matters when your identity is under attack.”
Students participating in the walkout protested President Trump’s executive order restricting residents of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from traveling to the United States. The Immigrant Justice Project and the Northwestern University Muslim Cultural Students Association were among the nine student groups that came together to organize the event.
Weinberg sophomore Rowan Hussein was one of the several Muslim students that spoke at the walkout.
“I am sick of doing everything right, and being treated like a commodity,” she said to the crowd.
Students and faculty alike had strong opinions about why they attended the walkout, and about the ban in general.
“I’m here because I think the executive order was unconstitutional, illegal, discriminatory, cruel and goes against everything I stand for,” Peter Locke, Assistant Professor of Instruction for the Global Health Studies program, said.
For many in the audience, the ban was personal.
“I came to this country for a college education, for the so-called ‘opportunities’ and ‘freedom,’” Weinberg freshman Divya Ramesh said. “But as person of color and as a woman, I feel everything but free. I attended the walkout to support everyone being affected by Trump’s regime.”
President Morton Schapiro released a statement in response to Trump’s ban Saturday, saying that Northwestern is “committed to being a welcoming and inclusive community for all, regardless of their beliefs.”
Ramesh believed the walkout was a reflection of this unity.
“Solidarity is powerful,” she said. “And it’s all we can do right now.”