The area just outside of Penn State’s Allen Street gate was very loud on Sunday afternoon – and on a non-football weekend, no less.
People of all ages chanted and waved signs to protest an executive order that was signed by President Donald Trump on Friday. The order placed a 120-day suspension on refugee entrance into the United States and barred of entry to citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days.
The protest grew out of a similar event hosted on Saturday night by Penn State juniors Fanta Conde and Pasma Ayad. Organized on the fly, between 12 and 15 people showed up at the Allen Street Gate that evening barring hastily made signs.
Thanks in large part to Facebook and other social media, the crowed on Sunday was substantially bigger.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Centre Daily Times
“I hope that immigrants and refugees worldwide know that we stand with them,” Conde said.
She was both surprised and moved by the size of the turnout, a multitude of people all bearing a similar message.
“We just need to start seeing people as human,” Conde said.
Freshman Milan Liu was part of a two-person team holding a banner that read “Refugees Welcome.” The duo was positioned precariously close to the street, where passing cars honked in solidarity.
Liu, who recently participated in the in the Washington D.C. woman’s march, was invited to the protest through Facebook and felt compelled to attend in opposition to Trump’s executive order.
“It’s not what I stand for, it’s not what America stands for, so I’m here to protest it,” Liu said.
Towards the back of the crowd, Marc and Becky Friedenberg stood with their two small children. In some ways this was a teaching moment, a chance to prove that everybody is the same on the inside.
“We might be a bubble here in State College but there’s love everywhere,” Marc said