Hundreds of people gathered outside West Hartford Town Hall on Wednesday evening for a rally for immigrant and refugee rights.
Nearly a dozen speakers were on hand for what organizers called a nonviolent and peaceful protest.
The rally was meant to "energize people to create concrete, positive change and support the rescission of this executive order," organizers said.
"My fore bearers, most of my family went up the chimneys in Auschwitz and but for the generosity of this nation I would not be here and I think we all have to remember that," said participant Drew Bruce Gould, of Simsbury. "What's happening now in this country, I'm 62 years old and I thought some of the other challenges that we've been through, I thought, I made it through and here again we have someone who really doesn't understand what America represents to the rest of the world."
Recently, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that temporarily suspends all immigration for citizens of seven majority Muslim countries for 90 days. They are: Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.
"I'm here because I feel like our country that was built on immigration and I feel like people should be allowed to come to this country and especially the refugees who are suffering so much and we need to open out doors to them," said Shannon Barnett of Southington.
Since it was signed last Friday, the restrictions have sparked outrage and large protests across the country.
"At this time it's Muslims from Syria or other refugee countries that are being banned or deported or turned away, but it could be any immigrant or any refugee,” said Amir Nabil, of Common Ground Services, one of the organizers of the rally. “As a first generation immigrant myself, 18 years ago, for me to be here and support this cause let's stand for justice, meaning let's give others every right that we claim for ourselves."
Gould says despite our obvious differences, we all have something in common.
"We're all one way or another, a refugee or an immigrant,” Gould said.
Organizers hope the rally will help their efforts to turn West Hartford into a sanctuary community.
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