Amid falling snow and below-freezing temperatures, thousands gathered at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport on Sunday, January 29, 2017, to protest Trump's executive order calling to ban entry of people from seven Muslim-majority countries and the halt of refugee entry to the United States.
This act of resistance was one of many, with similar protests at airports and places of government across the country.
Thousands of people of all ages, races, creeds, genders, and all other interesections gathered on both levels of the McNamara terminal both inside and out, holding signs and chanting over the roar of plane engines. Participants chanted words of resistance, their collective voices shouting "no hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here," "let them in," "yes we can," "no ban, no wall," and "this is what democracy looks like." Signs carried messages of hope, resistance, love, welcome, and diversity.
Phoebe Hopps, a Michigan coordinator for the Women's March on Washington, planned Sunday's protest, "This is where the march became a movement. Rooted in the promise of America’s call for huddled masses yearning to breathe free, we believe in immigrant and refugee rights regardless of status or country of origin. We believe migration is a human right and that no human being is illegal. We stand with our Muslim sisters and brothers, and reject the path of xenophobia and extreme vetting.”
"Though the situation we're in right now is tragic, [this protest] was the silver lining," said Lynn Charara, an anthropology student at Wayne State University who attended the rally. "Seeing people stand together in solidarity, in the freezing cold, was truly inspiring and moving. I am so proud to have been a part of it."
The rally continued for three hours throughout the snow, slush, incoming and departing flights, and overflowed into baggage claim areas inside the airport on both levels.
As the protest came to an end, hundreds gathered outside the terminal and formed a circle around Muslim protesters. Those with signs laid them down on the ground as a makeshift carpet, and dozens of Muslim Americans faced Mecca to pray. The outside circle acted as a barrier to create a safe space for their fellow Americans. It was an act of solidarity, love, and safety.As protesters left the airport, chants in cars and honking horns could be heard all the way to I-94. Through the tunnel to the highway, people waved their protest signs and flags from their homelands, an unapologetic sign that this is not the end. This is only the beginning of the movement, and the resistance will continue in attendees' everyday lives, into each action, protest, and rally to come, proving once and for all that hate is not welcome in the United States of America.
To support those fighting the ban on Muslim-majority people and refugees, the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) is on the front line providing support to those who have been affected by the ban and fighting the Trump Administration's ban. To donate to the ACLU, click here. In addition to this, the group who organized the original Women's March on Washington has started a campaign to continue on. To donate to them, click here.