Atlantans Protest Trump’s Banning Order at Atlanta’s Hartsfield Airport – January 29, 2017


by Heather Gray
January 30, 2017
Justice Initiative International

Atlantans Rally Against Trump’s Immigration Policies
Posters: “Rednecks Against Xenophobia” “Will Trade Racists for Refugees”

This has been a week of protests in Atlanta. First, the protest on January 20th calling for Atlanta to become a Sanctuary City with estimates of some 700 protestors. Next, the “Atlanta Women’s March” on January 21rst with some 70,000 protestors. Then Trump issues bans on seven countries and all havoc erupts around the country. Atlantans quickly organized a January 29, 2017 “Banning Order Protest” march at Atlanta’s Hartsfield Airport to rail against Trump and his tragic banning orders. There were estimates of some 7,000 protestors at the Atlanta airport.

At the Women’s March and the Banning Order protest, I talked with those who had never participated in a protest in the past. This is a good sign – evidence that the Trump administration, even in its first week, has alarmed countless Americans and that the fight against this oppressive presidency will continue.

Below is a heartfelt comment, written by Brian Levenson, who attended the protest yesterday at the airport, regarding his feelings about being at a protest for the first time and reflections about it all and dismay about what is happening in America. We had not met each other before. I am thankful for him sharing his profound thoughts.

Below, also please find a listing of protest messages from the demonstrators in Atlanta.

Just me writing what I was feeling during my first protest!

Atlanta Protest at Atlanta’s Hartsfield Airport – January 29, 2017

By Brian Levenson

I didn’t say a word.

There was chanting, cheering, songs, speeches; all of that going on and I didn’t say a word. I came to Hartsfield-Jackson airport for my first protest feeling so uncertain, so downtrodden, so fearful. John Lewis walked by as people chanted “thank you John.”

Still not a word.

Just seeing it all was so necessary for me, so cathartic. I fought back tears for about 30 minutes before I could even manage a whispered chant of “Where the hell are you/ Isaacson and Purdue.” By then I had started and stopped fits of tears a dozen times.

While speakers did their things, I looked at the crowd: a mix of every type of person you can imagine.

A young Asian woman with a baby gave me a true test of fortitude, but I choked back the tears. Chants of “this is what democracy looks like” were another test. Hijabs on young immigrants, Yamakas on elderly Jewish men, drums, chanting, “What would Jesus do” signs, it was… such a relief.

Obviously I’d heard about all the protests, and yes I’d seen aerial shots of the women’s March and a thousand others since November but it all rang hollow, because the backdrop for everything I heard was stark:

Behind the outrage was the simple fact that the country I used to say I loved voted for this. We chose it as a country.

And that was in my mind the whole afternoon. While driving to the airport, i considered buying a ticket to somewhere. Not sure where. I’ve lived in Israel. I speak some Spanish. I had cashed a check from my grandparents large enough to cover expenses for at least 6 months. I was really thinking those thoughts, which is… just beyond a horrible feeling to have about the place where you are born and raised.

While I was pressed into crowds of strangers, it was such a goddamn relief to be around people who were fighting.

I don’t want to get into policy or specific beliefs. Any other time, sure, but not in this piece. Because really I wasn’t at this protest for policy reasons. I wasn’t even really here to badmouth Trump or his supporters. I was here because for the first time in my life, I felt like America was the bad guy and I WILL NOT BE THE BAD GUY.

Maybe next time I’ll have something to say, but at my first anti-trump protest it was enough for me to simply put myself, silently, on the right side of history.

Some of the many posters at the demonstration
Dump Trump
Atlanta welcomes everyone
Deport Trump
Freedom of religion for all
Muslims are our friends
Not on my watch
Refugees make America beautiful
Salam Ya’ll
Rednecks against xenophobia
Trump you do not speak for me
They came for the Muslims and we the people said, not today, tomorrow, or ever
We stand for no ban
I’m with them
Ya’ll means all
No ban, no wall
Dump fucking Trump
My mom taught me to stand up to Bullies
Ban trump – not Muslims
Jesus was a refugee
Muslims are our friends
Resist tyranny
Only cowards fear difference
Migrant rights are human rights
Remember who you are and what you represent
Now is time for all people who love this country to ensure we are on the right side of history
No ban no wall – sanctuary for all
Hate is not what we stand for or support
Love is what we value here
First they came for Jews
I will not let history repeat itself
Watch out
My generation votes next
We became a family because of immigration and love
Hitler did it to the Jews, Trump, will not do this to the Muslims
Aliens too busy to hate
Liberty and justice for all
Will Trade Racists for Refugees
Rise up over hate
Solidarity in the face of Fascism
I’m with her (the Statue of Liberty)
She says “Let them in!”
Fight Muslim Ban
Ban Ignorance
ATL – Rise up for refugees
Stop religious profiling
Trump: you do not speak for me
I can do this every weekend assholes
Rise up over hate
Fight Muslim Ban
United we stand
Stop religious profiling
Mother of exiles
From her beacon hand
Glows world-wide
Welcome, her mild
eyes command
Muslims welcome here
I’m with them
We are the popular vote
Trilogy of Terrorists
Pence, Ryan, Trump
If you’re not worried
You’re not paying attention
Activism is not temporary
No Ban
No Registry
No White Supremacy
No Trump
No fascist USA
My grandfather is from Syria
The people united will never be divided
Great does not equal hate
I can’t drink oil
Silence is consent
Fuck white supremacy
A veteran against Trump
Trump out
Immigrants in
See may have all come on different ships
But we are all on the same boat
Call your Congressman
Hate will never make us great
Fear is not an American value
Bigotry is not an American value
Intolerance is not an American value
Melting pot
all races
all religions
all backgrounds
all creeds
To keep our humanity
Recognize theirs
Fight Racism
Muslim and Proud
I won’t bow to the
Tangerine Tyrant
No ban
yes to Syrians
1939: we turned away refugees,
they died at Auschwitz
Never again.
Don’t ban my family
Keep families together
Narcissistic Personality disorder
Deport Trump
Trump is a terrorist
Humans are not illegal
His is not us
This policy does not make us safer
Japanese-American in solidarity with Muslims
Fuck the wall
We’ll tear it down
USA impeach this clown
Wrong on many levels
Islam = Peace
This Rabbi welcomes Muslims
My brother’s keeper
no ban, no wall, no division
We all belong here
We will defend each other
Ban ignorance
Not immigrants
Say it loud
Say if clear
Refugees are welcome here
State sponsored injustice
Dishonors America
Keep the flame of liberty ablaze
Number of Americans
Killed by Citizens
of 7 Banned Nations
Build Bridges Not Walls
Great does not equal hate
Nicht Mein Fuhrer
To keep our humanity
Recognize theirs
Education not Deportation
Dear Trump,
Your Mom was an immigrant
So was mine
Our love will conquer
President Chaos

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