Unity Rally Stresses a Sense of Community on Campus

Photo by Dana Wehmann

A unity rally was held last Thursday, as students assembled at the Arch to protest President Trump’s travel ban and various other actions proposed or put into effect by the president.

Latino fraternity Lambda Sigma Upsilon Inc. organized the rally, a version of which was held by each of the fraternity’s chapters across the nation. The Ramapo chapter of Lambda Sigma Upsilon held its rally with the support of other Ramapo student organizations, including the Muslim Student Association, Brothers Making a Difference, the Chi Upsilon Sigma National Latin Sorority Inc. and the Mu Sigma Upsilon sorority.

President Trump’s issued an executive order that called for the 90-day suspension of all citizens from seven majority Muslim nations and a ban on all refugee admissions for 120 days. This order has since been blocked by the judicial system.

At 6 p.m. the event began with Lambda Sigma Upsilon member and Ramapo College sophomore Amauris M. Peralta Munoz leading the crowd through the Pledge of Allegiance as well as a moment of silence to honor the victims of terrorism. He spoke of the importance of peaceful protest in the current political climate.

The event also coincided with the national work protest started via social media coined “A Day Without Immigrants.” This protest saw immigrants and their families stay home from jobs, school and avoid spending money to protest President Trump’s plan to build a wall on the Mexico-U.S. border.

Munoz stated that immigrant students founded Lambda Sigma Upsilon in 1979 at Rutgers University in New Brunswick.

“The main goal is just to let everybody know that—for those that don’t feel safe, for those that are being effected at home by this new executive ban or by this new President that there’s people that care,” Munoz said.

Munoz’s opening remarks were followed by speeches from Ramapo College Democrats President Karlito Almeda, Sungkwan Jang from the Korean American Civic Empowerment organization, sophomore Kate Bahaj of the Muslim Students Association and junior Grace Maute, who spoke about intentions to make Ramapo College a sanctuary campus. A petition was then circulated around the crowd for students who wanted to make Ramapo a sanctuary campus.

Jang, the son of Korean immigrants, stated that President Trump’s actions are un-American.

“The America that I know, that my parents worked so hard to risk everything and come here for the future of children like myself,” Jang said.

Bahaj, of the Muslim Student Association, reiterated Jang’s sentiment on immigrants:

“Wasn’t it immigrants that came here seeking refuge that established this great nation?” She asked the cheering crowd.

“And wasn’t our very own White House in the capital of our nation built by the bare hands of African-American slaves?” she continued.

At the conclusion of Maute’s speech, the platform was opened up to the audience in which a handful of Ramapo College students told their backstory and voiced their frustrations with the ban.

Throughout the rally, speakers echoed the famous words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.:

“We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”

The event concluded with Bahaj and Munoz leading the crowd on a march throughout the campus chanting messages of unity.