Students Stage Protest at UMD

Demonstrations Against Immigration Policies Bring Students, Staff Together

DULUTH, Minn. – University of Minnesota Duluth students stood united Wednesday against President Donald Trump’s controversial immigration policy.

“America was founded on the dream of a better future,” said said Azrin Awal, a United States citizen who immigrated from Bengladesh when she was three years old. “The fact that a wall is going up, the fact that there’s a ban now, it’s isolating itself and it’s going back on what we fundamentally believe in.”

Students, both American and international were trying to make their voices heard.

“Banning people for their religion is ridiculous,” said Fardowsa Abdinor, an international student from Somalia.  “It’s unconstitutional; the First Amendment says freedom of religion, freedom to express who we are.”

Students also had the opportunity to write postcards to United States Senators, in hopes of letting lawmakers in Washington, D.C. know how they feel.

“I’m filling out two letters to both of the Senators from Minnesota telling them why I think they should continue to support women’s rights,” said UMD student Emma Dufault.  “It’s a little frustrating that in this year we still have to go out and march saying these are equal rights, we still believe in these kind of things.

Organizers say everyone was welcome, regardless of politcial affiliation.  The only requirement was a desire to better understand what’s going on in the world.

“People are uncertain,” said Jessi Eaton, Chairwoman of UMD’s Commission on Women’s Rights.  “I don’t know that it’s been completely negative or completely positive, there’s just a lot of uncertainty about the direction things are going.”

These events were designed to teach UMD students that anything, from filling out postcards to walking in protest are ways for them to have their voices heard.

One international student described the last 10 days as “heartbreaking.”

“America is built on the people, without the immigrants the country would not exist,” said Abdinor.  “We have to hear my voice, we have to hear the voices of these people because we want to make a better country.”

Turnout exceeded expectations as protesters from all walks of life marched in solidarity.

“It brings me hope that there are so many people coming together that believe in this message and that there is love to be shared,” said Awal.  “The fact that we can come together to create something beautiful affects all of us.  It leads us to our prosperity.”

These students made their voices heard, now they want lawmakers to listen.

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