The Politics of Poverty

Ideas and analysis from Oxfam America's policy experts

We need all of you. Now more than ever.

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Isra Chaker at the #NoMuslimBanEver rally in front of the US Supreme Court following the court's decision to uphold the Muslim ban. (Photo: Oxfam America)

A reflection on the Muslim Ban and why the fight for human rights, justice and equality must continue.

There’s no other way to say it, this week broke my heart. As a Syrian American Muslim woman, I hurt for my community and I hurt for our country. It has taken so much effort to hold back the tears I want to cry. But we must continue the fight.

From day one of President Trump’s travel ban, we at Oxfam fought back. We protested at airports, we joined the ACLU of Massachusetts as a plaintiff and filed an amicus brief against the ban. We spoke out.

The discriminatory intention of the President’s ban has been clear since the beginning. As Justice Sotomayor recognized, a reasonable observer would view the ban as driven by anti-Muslim bias and not national security as the government has claimed. But five men rejected that view in a decision that will have serious human impacts for families around the country and around the world.

I was born and raised in Boulder, Colorado, but I am deeply impacted by this Muslim ban— I haven’t seen my extended family in Syria since the conflict began over 7 years ago. This ban prevents me from being reunited with them in my home here in the US, where I was born and raised proudly as an American. They have already had to miss my graduation and the day I married the love of my life. The fact of the matter is that the Muslim Ban has ripped my family, and so many others apart. How many more life moments and milestones will my loved ones have to miss? Will I ever see them ever again? These are the questions that keep me up at night.

Senator Blumenthal (D-NY) speaks at the #NoMuslimBanEver rally outside the US Supreme Court.

And it’s not just the ban. Our cherished values of human rights, justice and equality are under threat here at home and in the ways the United States engages or fails to engage on the global stage.

From the heartbreaking images of children that remain separated from their parents or detained at our southern border to the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw the US from the United Nations Human Rights Council. From domestic violence survivors being told that their suffering is not worthy of asylum in the US to the Trump administration’s failing to speak out against the United Arab Emirates-led offensive to capture Yemen’s most important port, which could kill and displace tens of thousands of residents and push millions into famine.

This week is testing our moral fabric. Is this what our country stands for? Do I need to choose between being a proud American and a compassionate member of the human race?

This is not the America I grew up learning about and it’s not the America my parents taught me to love so deeply.

Honestly, I’m tired. Many of us are. But today, we need to take deep breath and remember that being a proud American also means speaking truth to power and continuing to fight for our collective American values. We need all of you. Now more than ever.


Join us at the Families Belong Together march this weekend to stand up for the rights of immigrants and refugees.

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  1. susanadutro@me.com'Susana

    Thank you for this, Isra.

    What especially rings so heartbreakingly true for so many of us is your question, “Do I need to choose between being a proud American and a compassionate member of the human race?”

    Reply
  2. Brownlaurene@hotmail.com'Laurena Brown

    Well spoken. I am an ashamed American. That man has disgraced us. I remain a compassionate human being. I am sorry such unnecessary suffering has been directed to you and your community. You are always welcome at my home and table.

    Reply
  3. pamsriharsha@yahoo.com'Pamela Sriharsha MA

    I am no longer proud to say I am an American, I am embarrassed and I am terrified of the dehumanizing and radical / bigoted / Communist changes being made I’m am a white / Christian woman, but am terrified that we our losing our way of life, our freedom and our hard won civilized development.
    Don’t get me wrong as a child born in 1951 and growing up in the 50’s & 60’s I know discrimination and racism. We fought so hard to break down the walls and bring us to a better place only to see the 2016 election bring us back to those ugly bigoted racist discriminatory days of yesterday year.
    I pray for Christians to bring the love of Christ back to them, for Muslims, Hindus, Buddhist, Jews and all peoples to be given back the respect and dignity that all deserve. I pray for the day that we see each other’s differences as the mosaic that makes this world beautiful as God intended and we learn to not only respect but to cherish these differences. Secure in the knowledge that God aka the Great Spirit, aka Allah, aka … by whatever name we speak of and to His Holiness that He/She will sort it out and call us all knowing each name and loving each and everyone of us !
    Tolerance, Respect, Understanding, And Love this is what I learned as a child This is what we need to get back to Now!!

    Make America Proud again : start with loving each and every other as you ( and your Creator) loves you. !!!
    Only then will we be great.

    And if we really want to slow down immigration. Start by helping other nations to have a fair and stable economy. Only then will they want to live in their homeland and Just visit us for a vacation. Think about this. Why have we not immigrated ?

    Reply

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