PATERSON, N.J.- Sunday, a crowd of about 500 people gathered at the Federal Building and marched to the Great Falls for the Interfaith March protesting Donald Trump’s Executive Order and in solidarity for those affected by it.
The idea came from Haledon Mayor Domenick Stampone reaching out to Prospect Park Mayor Mohamed T. Khairullah about doing something to show solidarity in the values and principles of being American. They met to organize and plan with city and county leaders, included Passaic County Freeholder John Bartlett, Passaic County Freeholder Assad Akhter, Clifton BOE Commissioner Fahim Abedrabbo and many more.
The march began at noon with a prayer led by Imam Mohammad Qatanani at the Federal Building, which was followed by the march with many public officials, including Senator Cory Booker, Senator Robert Menendez, Congressman Bill Pascrell, Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly, Passaic County Freeholder Director Sandi Lazzara, Passaic County Freeholder T. J. Best, Paterson Mayor Joey Torres, Former Montclair Mayor Jerry Fried, Former Deputy Mayor Pedro Rodriguez, Paterson Councilman Luis Velez, Paterson Councilman Andre Sayegh, Prospect Park Councilman Anand Shah, Assemblyman Tim Eustace, Little Falls Councilwoman Maria Cordonnier, Haledon Councilwoman Tahsina Ahmed and Clifton Councilwoman Lauren Murphy.
Chants like, “No Wall. No Ban,” “This is what an (immigrant/refugee) looks like like,” “No Hate. No Fear. Refugees Are Welcome Here.” surrounded the Paterson atmosphere for about 45 minutes as the crowd made their way to the falls.
One protester said that, “We must tear down walls and build bridges.”
Senator Cory Booker shared his thoughts regarding the protest and said that it was, “..amazing and what New Jersey is all about...These protests are going to resonate...and add straight to the movement.”
Congressman Bill Pascrell commented, “Beautiful...peaceful people.”
Even with the cold and snow, people stayed after the march for an hour and a half where a rally was followed at the Paterson Falls where public officials and clergy who spoke of unity and peace.
Khairullah shared his thoughts after the protest and said, “I’m happy to see people share their humanity. Our country needs to stay focused and we need to maintain our spirit of love and unity to continue having this great nation.”