Politics of Poverty

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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