Hundreds of people, including several students and faculty from Wartburg College, met in downtown Cedar Falls last Sunday for a protest. The gathering was put together to protest President Trump’s ban on entry into the US for citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
Kim Schlesinger, a second-year Wartburg student who has been to several other protests (such as the women’s march in Des Moines a few weekends ago), was one of them. She says the Wartburgers in attendance of the “No Ban, No Wall” protest didn’t plan to be there as one big group, but she’s happy with the way things turned out nonetheless.
“It wasn’t that we were just one cohesive group, but we all eventually came together as a Wartburg community, which was cool,” Schlesinger said.
There were several guest speakers from various backgrounds at the protest, and their message was clear: we must open our arms to anyone in need, regardless of where they come from or what they practice. Schlesinger agrees.
“We need to realize that it’s not about us,” Schlesinger said. “It’s about the people that we’re standing with, and it’s about giving them the opportunity to stand up and be true to themselves.”
With protest, though, typically comes counter-protest. Such was the case in Cedar Falls. The pro ban, pro wall people stood on the opposite side of main street, shouting things like “Support our president,” and “illegal immigrants have no constitutional rights.” In fact, one of the protesters got so fed up with something a counter-protester said that they ran across the street and tackled him to the ground. No one was seriously injured, but the police had to break up the scene.
On the other side of the road, not many people seemed to notice the debacle. In fact, some of the guest speakers made a point to block out the protesters across the way and keep standing for what they thought was right. The Wartburg people managed to avoid it, as they all just kept on protesting.
That particular protest ended around 3:30, but that doesn’t mean that their cause did. Schlesinger says that, when it comes to standing up for what they believe in, this is just the beginning.
“We need to keep up this momentum,” Schlesinger said.