Back from JFK, and a lot of things need to be said.
We watched history happen today. Participated in it too, maybe. I showed up to the rally at JFK neither as a journalist nor as a protester. I documented it, sure, and supported the march and (internally) chimed in with the slogans but I didn't show up particularly for any of that.
I showed up because, on a very basic human level, I knew I had to. People from Bangladesh aren't (yet) affected by this ban, and I don't have family or friends or friends of friends stranded at the airport.
And I wasn't the only one like that. Once we arrived there, the thing that struck me at first (take it however you want to) was the number of white Americans at the protest. This is important. It's important because of the number of times I've heard people say "These days whenever I see a white man, I secretly wonder if they've voted for Trump" (a problematic statement because assuming anyone who's a white man has voted for Trump is essentially the same foundation Islamophobia is based on). It's important because a lot of people have felt a lack of solidarity from the white community (at least my understanding from blog posts etc), and they're not wrong. But today's event made me wonder if that's changing perhaps?
I'd honestly assumed the rally would be mainly Muslims and people directly affected by the ban. I saw the opposite. I'd assumed it would have only young hippies - I was wrong. There was one elderly woman (among others) swaying a rose against the police barricades, as well as six-year-old kids holding placards.
Today, more than ever before, we needed to see love. And the protesters at JFK made us feel it. Thank you New York. For being so unapologetically you. For reminding us what's at stake and for showing us the strides we can make when we come together.
There's a long, long way to go. The current stay on the ban is temporary and there are people still unsure whether or not they can return to the US without being detained (despite their legal status), and none of this makes it better. But what we witnessed today, the power of resistance, of solidarity, or just a simple fucking rose against the police barricades - it needs to be remembered. It needs to be remembered because in the future, when other communities are under attack (and they will be) this is what we will look back on, this is what we will reflect on to remind ourselves how much we lose when we look away from things that don't directly affect us and how much we gain from the simple act of showing up.
We will remember how simple it is to create history.