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Dance as a form of resistance: Activists gather at Borough Hall in protest of Trump travel ban

October 18, 2017 By Liliana Bernal Special to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brooklyn Borough Hall was decorated with a #StomptheBan projection, showing resistance to President Trump’s third travel ban. Eagle photo by Liliana Bernal
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More than 100 activists of different races and faiths banned together in front of Brooklyn Borough Hall Monday night to protest against President Donald Trump’s third travel ban.

The ban, which was expected to go into effect Wednesday, blocking travelers into the U.S. from Syria, Libya, Iran, Yemen, Chad, Somalia, North Korea and Venezuela, was temporarily halted by a Hawaiian federal judge.

Arab-American advocacy groups and art collectives came together to create, “Stomp Out the Muslim Ban,” challenging discrimination through the power of art.

“We are calling out the Islamophobia, the anti-immigration and the anti-refugee that is happening with this Muslim ban,” said Esraa Saleh, an event coordinator from the Arab-American Family Support Center (AAFSC).

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With a backdrop of resistance-fueled dance, those affected by the ban energized the crowd with their stories.

“I’m a Yemeni-American who is directly impacted by this ban,” Widad Hassan of the New York City Commission on Human Rights said. “My nephew, who I’ve never met so far, is stuck in a warzone along with my grandparents and for many of us we deal with the double-trauma of being separated from loved ones and worrying about their safety as they continue to live in dangerous situations.”

The pillars of Borough Hall were splattered with a colorful projection adorning, #StomptheBan, while activists joined hands to perform the traditional Arab step-dance, Dabke, in protest.

Weeks after Trump’s inauguration, thousands of Yemeni immigrants closed bodegas and gathered at Borough Hall to show their resistance to the president’s first travel ban, which was fought by a Brooklyn federal judge.

North Korea and Venezuela were not included in Judge Derrick Watson’s halt of the recent ban, according to news reports.

In addition to AAFSC, the event was hosted by the National Network for Arab American Communities and the art collective, The Illuminator.

Contributed reporting by Paul Frangipane

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