Last night, more than a thousand members of the Yale and New Haven communities gathered in front of Sterling Memorial Library in opposition to President Donald Trump’s recent executive order on immigration. We at the News join our community in condemning this ban on citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries and all refugees, and we stand in solidarity with those it has affected. Trump’s directive is an affront to American values and to principles we as Yalies hold dear.
At Yale, we have already seen the implications of Trump’s executive order. An Iranian graduate student in the Anthropology Department cannot return from Afghanistan, where he is conducting field work. A Silliman College fellow has been separated from his wife and newborn daughter, who were visiting family in Iran at the time of the ban’s implementation. Many more Yalies have friends, families and colleagues in the affected countries. And as a gateway city, New Haven is home to refugees from around the world.
As we did last night, Yale and New Haven can and should stand in solidarity against this policy and with those it targets. The sheer number of people who came together on Cross Campus is a testament to our resistance, which must be sustained. We call on our peers to continue these efforts by standing up and speaking out whenever possible. We commend the students at the Yale Law School Clinic who helped secure a stay on parts of the ban. We commend the leaders of the Yale Refugee Project, which is raising funds for New Haven’s refugee resettlement service. And we commend New Haven activists involved with JUNTA for Progressive Action, Unidad Latina en Acción and Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services, among other groups, whose work strengthens our city each day.
In the same vein, we call on Yale’s administrators to take on the mantle of moral leadership. When the conscience of our campus was challenged during the May Day protests in support of the Black Panthers, then-University President Kingman Brewster spoke out publicly and opened our doors to demonstrators from across the country. Brewster also criticized the Vietnam War — openly and relentlessly — earning the ire of the likes of then-President Richard Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
University President Peter Salovey has an opportunity to use his standing and prominence to serve as a forceful advocate on the national stage. Unlike in the Vietnam era, it is easy to communicate with our community only through email, to simply endorse the statements of others, as Yale has done with the Association of American Universities. But the Salovey administration can do more, and we encourage you to write to firstname.lastname@example.org to suggest how. On our part, we at the News will work vigorously to report on how Trump’s policy impacts our community. We will hold local and state leaders accountable. If you are a member of the Yale community affected by Trump’s executive order, consider reaching out to us to share your story.
Last night’s vigil brought us together, but there is so much more to be done. Our community can help turn an unfolding moment of solidarity into a sustained movement for justice.