BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — More than 100 people converged on chill McLevy Green Monday evening, vowing to fight against President Donald Trump’s executive order severely restricting immigration from seven Muslim countries.
“Mr. President believes he owns the country like another (piece of) real estate he owns,” Fairfield University professor Ahmed Ebrahim said to cheers from the diverse crowd.
“This is about the soul and the heart of this country. This is unacceptable.”
City and state leaders joined the rally, organized by Make The Road CT and its allies.
“I stand in solidarity with you,” said Mayor Joe Ganim.
Surrounded by City Council members, Ganim said he would welcome more dialogue to find solutions to the issues facing those in Bridgeport, which is believed to have the biggest population of immigrants and undocumented people in the state.
He was met with shouts of “sanctuary city,” a call for Bridgeport to seek designation as a safe haven for undocumented people.
Julio López, state director for Make The Road, called on those gathered to seek common ground and not worry about their differences.
“We should share one voice,” he said. “We should unite. We are here together.”
Make The Road held a smaller rally on the steps of City Hall earlier this month. López said he sees the movement gaining steam and more supporters.
Anthony Bennett, pastor of Mt. Aery Baptist Church in Bridgeport, said a short prayer, saying he was “a Christian pastor supporting my Muslim brothers and sisters.
“Give us strength to resist. Give us strength to protest. Give us strength to pray on our feet.”
State Reps. Steve Stafstrom (D-Bridgeport) and Cristin McCarthy Vahey (D-Fairfield) and state Sen. Ed Gomes (D-Bridgeport) also spoke to the protesters.
Gomes said they would fight in Hartford to ensure Muslim professionals and families who had plans to come to the U.S. would not be hindered.
“We have a president now who is a misogynist and a racist and you can quote me on that,” he said. “It’s just ridiculous. I don’t know what to say.”
Ebrahim, who teaches accounting, told the crowd to be prepared for a long fight.
"This is not a one-time event," he said. "This is a continuous struggle.."