Lexington Rally Supports Refugees, Challenges Ban

Feb 1, 2017

President Donald Trump’s action to temporarily ban refugees and other immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries continues to prompt public response.

Piano music greeted those who filled Christ Church Cathedral Tuesday night, creating the feel more of a unifying rally than a protest.  But Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes elicited a strong response urging attendees to denounce hate and fear.

A crowd gathered at Christ Church Cathedral in Lexington on Tuesday in protest of the current travel ban.
Credit Stu Johnson/WEKU

Mohammad Alshamdin, 23, is a Syrian refugee. He’s been in the United States for one year.

After the rally, he said religious-based divisiveness wasn’t prevalent where he grew up in Syria.

 “So, I live in harmony there, so it’s not new for me as a Muslim to live with Christians.  We’re already family there, friends,” he said.  “I was forced to leave my country. I left everything behind me and I came here because I had to.”

Rosine Yanyi also spoke to the crowd. She came to the states from the Republic of Congo in 2011.   

“There’s so much opportunity out here, that we are both fighting to survive.  We are both fighting for better health care for our kids, better education for ourselves.  So, as refugees we come here seeking hope for life,” she said.

The large crowd heard from Lexington Police Chief Mark Barnard.  He thanked refugees for taking the risk to come to America.  The chief said it’s important to take care of people in need and never turn them away

Organizers urged attendees to get messages to their congressional representatives expressing why they support refugees.