Western Michigan University Senior Hosts Rally with Hundreds in Attendance

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With her voice shaking, May Ye addresses a crowd of hundreds at Bronson Park in Kalamazoo.

 

“It is important that the Kalamazoo community come together to extend a message of welcome to our Muslim, refugee, and immigrant neighbors.”

“It is my hope in today’s rally you feel warmly embraced and supported by your community,” said Ye with a megaphone to her mouth.

 

The rally, which took place on February 5, was to stand against Islamophobia and to promote Muslim and immigrant rights.

 

Ye, a senior piano performance major at Western Michigan University, hosted the event which saw a wide range of different speakers from the community to talk about the importance of standing together against hate.

 

“I was feeling frustrated. Frustrated with the current political climate under this new administration. Frustrated with the apathy I feel surrounded by. Frustrated to be here where there isn’t a lot of activism and I don’t have the opportunity to protest and organize everyday and where I don’t have people who can empathize with me.”

 

Ye said she hadn’t heard about any local action in regards to the Muslim ban, and wanted to do something and so she went on Facebook and created an event.

 

“As a Jew, I feel strongly that it is imperative that we stand together and support our Muslim neighbors, brothers, and sisters,” said Ye.

 

Ye said she’s not sure how the word about her event spread as fast and as well as it did. Every day, hundreds more people showed interest in her event. Resulting in almost 5,000 people indicating interest to attend and almost 2,000 people confirmed that they would be attending.

 

“I hardly slept the night before. I felt sick to my stomach when I woke up. I was nervous. This was the first rally I had ever organized. I wasn’t sure if I had everything I needed. Would the megaphone work? Would all my speakers show up? Would people even show up?”

 

Ye’s fears were short lived when she got to Bronson Park and saw that around 1,000 people were attendance, her speakers were all there: including the current president of WMU, John Dunn, and Paul Clements, a political science professor at WMU whose campaign was endorsed by Senator Bernie Sanders in the 2016 election as he ran for Congress.

 

“Since the rally, I’ve been overwhelmed by the response I’ve received. I’ve been honored to hear the personal stories so many have shared with me, the ways in which the rally positively impacted them, influenced them, and inspired them.”

 

Although Ye isn’t sure she’ll be able to spend a lot of time organizing rallies in the near future, she hopes that her rally has encouraged others to stand up for what they believe in. “I hope that people really tap into their potential and start taking some big, powerful action. What better time than now?”

 

                                                                                                    May Ye shaking hands with President John Dunn

 

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About The Author

Johanna is the campus correspondent for the WMU chapter and a senior at Western Michigan University. She is studying journalism and political science. She hopes to spend her life writing and influencing the world around her with her words. A member of the Western Michigan University Marching Band, Johanna has been in love with music for as long as she can remember and tries to balance out her busy life between writing and playing music.