UMD students respond to travel ban
By Idun Rasmussen
A small conversation between three UMD students lead to a university-wide protest with over 200 attendees, demonstrating against Trump’s travel ban.
Akquua Anye, Fardowsa Abdinoor and Hodan Jibrell were sitting in the Multicultural Centers’ TV room the monday after Trump had signed the executive order that would stop immigration from the seven countries of Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen. As the three students were getting passionate about what had happened, they decided to do something that became bigger than they thought it would be, arrange a protest.
The protest happened last Wednesday, including signs, drums and a route that even went inside of the university. This created some controversy between students.
“The protest was pretty amazing, we weren’t expecting that many people to show up. The fact that people at UMD can come together and show that we can be united and that we are one, impressed me,” Abdinoor said.
“There were people that were heated after, and there were people that were so annoyed by the protest, and they wanted to talk about it. And that’s one of the things we were most amazed about; the conversation that had started, and we were supportive to that conversation,” Anye said.
“We wanted to include everyone, because there are so many people that are affected by it that doesn’t want to talk about it. So we wanted to show that we care,” Anye said.
International Student Advisor, Anna Gilmore, said that the situation is currently very confusing and worrisome to both international students and other students, and that International Student Services have been taking actions to support students. Gilmore said that students are concerned for their families and friends, afraid of traveling, and worried about what will happen to people visiting them.
“There has been a lot of conversations where I’ve had to say ‘I don’t know. I’m sorry, I can’t tell you if it’s going to be okay,” Gilmore said.
International Student Services is closely following professional and international organizations to understand any updates that may come along.
“It changes by the day, and there is not a way to know other than getting as much information as possible. When it is verifiable information we are then communicating it to students,” Gilmore said.
The UMD International Club is also showing its support to affected students.
“We are working very hard with ISS to offer support and to listen to people who are frustrated or feel unsafe, and spread the love because that is what we can do as a club that wants to educate and incorporate everyone,” Maria Gomez, president of the International Club, said.
Gomez added that the club is always working towards a better understanding between cultures.
“Our slogan for this year is ‘embrace your differences, discover your world’, and that’s what we want - everyone to embrace everyone’s differences and come together and make international students a part of the Duluth community,” Gomez said.
Anna Gilmore works hard to support the UMD students that are both affected and not affected by the current situation.
“Even if you’re not directly affected, you have to wonder how does the U.S. feel about international people being in its borders and how welcoming is it really?” Gilmore said.
Thumbnail photo provided by Nemuel Sereti