WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins partnered with a diverse coalition of community organizations to host the Westchester Resistance Rally in White Plains on Saturday.
The protest, at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University, also included New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. The event was organized in opposition to policies issued via executive order by President Donald J. Trump.
Stewart-Cousins stood with local leaders, elected officials and Westchester community members who came together in support of human rights and in opposition to policies banning immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries and the construction of a multi-billion dollar wall between the United States and Mexico.
“As President Woodrow Wilson once said, ‘The history of liberty is a history of resistance,' " said Stewart-Cousins. "The organic demonstrations of people all over the world underscore the importance of American ideals and values.
"As an elected official, people want to know where I stand. I’m happy to stand with people who build bridges—not walls—and fight discriminatory policies, no matter who orders them. I’m proud to be part of that resistance.”
The event followed weeks of protests and rallies since the Presidential Inauguration. Senator Stewart-Cousins spoke at the New York City Women’s March last month and, after last weekend’s immigration executive orders, introduced the New York State Senate Democratic Conference’s Resistance Agenda. This plan includes legislation that prohibits the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and local law enforcement officials from enforcing these orders, as well as a bill that prohibits SUNY and CUNY schools from collecting personal data regarding the immigration status and country of origin of students.
Stewart-Cousins hosted the rally in partnership with many organizations, including the Immigration Justice Clinic at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University, the Lower Hudson Valley Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union, Cabrini Immigrant Services, Community Voices Heard, the Yonkers Islamic Center, the Muslim American Society of Upper New York, St. Catherine AME Zion Church, Calvary Baptist Church, the Minister’s Fellowship Council of White Plains and Vicinity, Temple Beth Shalom in Hastings-on-Hudson, Temple Israel of New Rochelle, My Sisters’ Place, and a myriad of labor and civic organizations.
Congressman Eliot Engel said, “We are a nation of immigrants. We have always been a nation of immigrants, and we will continue to be a nation of immigrants."
“President Trump’s Muslim ban is a historic betrayal of our core American values, and we must not be silent in the face of that betrayal."
Added State Senator George Latimer: “There is a frenzy in the moment, manufactured by politics, feeding on fear. It was this way in 1919. It was this way in the 1950s. In both cases, the fear was unfounded. And the fear dissipated. And so it is again. Reasonable people will lead us out of this false crisis."
Other leaders chimed in including Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer, Assemblyman David Buchwald and Assemblywoman Amy Paulin.
Said Paulin: “Every one of our families has, at one point, been an immigrant in this country, whether they came here this year, 10 years ago or 100 years ago.
"That we should not be welcoming to immigrants or refugees goes against the standards and principles that have been part of this country’s foundation for nearly 250 years.”