Though Saturday afternoon was chilly and overcast, the weather did not stop protestors from marching on the capital to demonstrate their disdain for the executive order passed by Donald Trump last week. This order prevents entry into the United States by a mass of people, all hailing from various Muslim majority countries, such as Sudan, Syria, Iraq and Iran, totaling around 218 million people. Outraged, people throughout the nation have banded together to help, donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to organizations dedicated to helping refugees, and anti-ban marches have occurred throughout the week in various locations.
The march in Tallahassee was organized by FSU Students for Justice in Palestine, a group of Florida State students dedicated to bringing awareness to the crimes and conflicts brought upon Palestinians by Israelis. Other organizations that co-sponsored the event included the FSU NAACP, FSU Muslim Association, FSU Empowering Women Globally and the Florida chapter of the Council for American-Islamic Relations.
The march began around noon on Saturday afternoon, starting in the Free Speech Zone of the Oglesby Union. People of all genders, races, religions and ages gathered to show their support to the millions of Muslims and refugees that have been affected by this ban. After a few rallying speeches, the march took off towards Westcott Fountain, with hundreds of students, faculty and locals chanting “No hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here,” and “No ban, no wall, sanctuary for all.” The crowd stopped briefly at Westcott to hear other speeches from immigrants, their children and various organizers, each warmly received by the group.
Talia Segar, a student at Florida State, explained her reason for marching, “After the Holocaust my family came to America and we believe other people should be able to do the same thing; they should be able to come here and create a family and live their lives freely.”
Though the march was primarily against the executive order, these organizations used it as a platform to promote other causes, encouraging protestors to not let their activism end after the march. A petition circulated throughout the march to add a referendum election to the FSU Student Body Election ballot to make Florida State a sanctuary campus. Though President Thrasher issued a statement addressing the executive order earlier in the week, many students were disappointed that Thrasher did not directly address the main topics—Trump and Muslims. Making FSU a sanctuary campus would provide safety and security for undocumented students, keeping their immigration status undisclosed. FSU SJP was also working to provide free tuition for as many refugees as possible so that they could have the chance at the American dream.
With the help of police escorts and road blocks, the march made its way to the Capital building, shouting “Show me what democracy looks like, this is what democracy looks like!” Once the group arrived at the capital the rally continued with more speeches, peppered with the supportive honks of cars driving past. The speeches called for the continuing support of those in a place of privilege, with many of the Muslim Americans speakers stating that this is not the end, this is just the beginning.