Amnesty International club organizes protest in response to immigration freeze

Students+and+faculty+hold+signs+in+protest+of+President+Donald+Trump%27s+recent+executive+order+restricting+immigration.

Cleo Falvey/Sagamore Staff

Students and faculty hold signs in protest of President Donald Trump's recent executive order restricting immigration.

Cleo Falvey, Arts Managing Editor

Chants such as “This is what democracy looks like!” and “Hands too small to build the wall!” erupted from high school activists, members of the Amnesty International club, standing outside the high school this Monday morning. These protests mirrored ones that were held across the Boston area regarding President Donald Trump’s restriction of people from predominantly Muslim countries entering the United States.

In an executive order on Friday, Jan. 27, Trump restricted immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries (Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen), for 90 days. Trump also barred all refugees from seeking asylum in the United States for 120 days.

Junior Komal Wasif organized the high school’s protest in response to the immigration freeze. Wasif, who is Muslim, said that she feels threatened by the executive order, as she envisions many potential problems it could cause.

Cleo Falvey/Sagamore Staff
Junior Komal Wasif holds a sign in front of the high school on Monday morning as part of a protest. The demonstration was similar to those that took place all over the country over the past few days, in response to President Trump’s executive orders.

“I feel that banning us isn’t helping this country or any of us, because it’s initiating more anger and creating more members of ISIS and al-Qaeda, which isn’t what we wanted. And it’s making us seem like {the entire U.S.} doesn’t agree with Muslims, which is not what we are,” Wasif said.

Wasif organized the protest with the help of history teacher and Amnesty International adviser Ben Kahrl.

“{Kahrl} messaged me last night and said, ‘We should do something about this,’ and I said, ‘Yes, we should.’ So we started this protest, and he provided posters and markers, and I posted it on social media,” said Wasif.

Kahrl said that he helped organize the protest to support students at the high school who may feel unsafe due to Trump’s immigration ban.

“I want the school to be a place where every student who walks in the door feels welcome,” said Kahrl. “I felt the atmosphere was against immigrants and I don’t think that’s what the high school does or should stand for.”

Wasif said that Brookline’s diverse community should be protected.

“Many of us don’t agree with President Trump. We shouldn’t fight him but we should say that we don’t agree with his plans and we shouldn’t implement them in Brookline,” said Wasif.

Junior Anthony Saunders was among the attendees at the protest. Saunders, who is Black and Muslim, said that he feels threatened by Trump.

“I feel like every part of my identity is being threatened every day. With the Muslim ban, it’s sad to see there are many people who are looking for better opportunities in America who can’t get that opportunity. Even people who were already in America are having a hard time coming back,” said Saunders.

Additionally, Saunders said he disagrees with Trump’s views regarding Chicago and other cities occupied predominantly by people of color.

“As a Black male, it’s hard seeing when he’s talking about how he wants to militarize Chicago. It’s hard seeing him speak about Black people in general because he never says anything positive,” said Saunders.

According to junior Clara Levrero, who also attended the protest, Trump’s actions affect her indirectly because she is an Italian immigrant.

“I think it’s a very important cause because it’s directly affecting people we know,” Levrero said. “​{The restrictions} are not right, it’s not kind, there’s no point to it and all it does is hurt families.”