Vigil brings together people of different faiths against travel ban


Marcel Bollag/The Daily Northwestern

Students gather at the Rock for a vigil commemorating those affected by an executive order barring citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. The event was hosted by Canterbury House and featured participants of diverse faiths.

Catherine Kim, Reporter

About 30 students of different religions gathered at The Rock on Tuesday to stand against the travel ban imposed by the Trump administration. As they stood shoulder-to-shoulder, they shared prayers, criticisms and hopes in response to the recent executive order.

The #NoBanNoWall Vigil — hosted by Canterbury House, Northwestern’s Episcopal ministry — was organized in response to the executive order signed Jan. 27 barring citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for 90 days, preventing refugees from entering the country for 120 days and Syrian refugees indefinitely. The executive order was halted nationwide following a federal judge’s temporary stay on the ban Friday. Students came out to discuss the importance of standing together in the wake of the order, followed by a prayer and a candle lighting.

Bienen freshman So Yeon Shin said her mom has been a permanent resident in the United States for 18 years and that the executive order hits close to home. Even more tragic is to think that some have already been separated from their families, she said. She described the current state of the the country as a “nightmare and I can’t wake up.”

Shin, who identifies as Christian, also noted that Jesus was a foreigner, like many of those who were barred from entering the United States. Quoting the Bible, she said it was crucial for people to always treat others as they would want to be treated.

“It’s our moral duty to care for one another and care for each other in times like these,” she said.

Brandon Bernstein, campus rabbi at Fiedler Hillel, said a commandment repeated multiple times in the Torah is to welcome the stranger. Rather than fearing a stranger, it is important to recognize encountering different people as an opportunity to interact with someone new, he said.

Bernstein also emphasized the significance of continuing to show support beyond attending brief gatherings.

“It is very easy to say that we are in support of things and show at a protest,” he said. “It’s a lot harder to live it in our life.”

Weinberg senior Gustavo Berrizbeitia talked about his Roman Catholic background and said his mother had taught him the most important part of being a Catholic is being out on the streets helping people.

As a child of Venezuelan immigrants and a Catholic seeking opportunities for service, he thanked the students who attended the vigil and emphasized its importance.

“I am very grateful for spaces like this,” he said. “(Catholicism) requires being in public space and doing something about the problem.”

Communication senior Hale McSharry, president of Canterbury House, said the vigil was an important interfaith action that showed solidarity and love to people who feel alone, attacked and scared because of their faith.

McSharry publicized the vigil and led the discussion with Andy Guffey, chaplain of Canterbury House.

“It is a blessing, getting to take action through this lens of trying to make the world a better place because that is what we here to do,” he told The Daily.

Guffey prayed for refugees seeking safety and said staying in their home countries could mean “almost certain death.” He dedicated his final words to those supporting the executive order.

“For those who have forgotten that God is compassionate, who have forgotten how to be passionate, may these lights serve as reminder how to love — let this light shine,” he said.

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