Hundreds Rallying Travel Ban On Campus Announcing A New U Of I Petition
Shock waves are rippling across the nation as a result of President Donald Trump's recent travel ban.
Hundreds of University of Illinois students rallied Monday, demanding change.
Some students said, after hearing about the ban, it was something they had to do.
Over 500 rallying at the University of Illinois after a President Donald Trump's executive order to ban refugees from the US for the next 120 days. The countries affected are Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia.
One student speaker, Su-Ad Eljawhari, said she’s afraid she may never see her grandparents again.
"[The rally] is in support of Muslims, immigrants, and refugees,” she said. “And at different points in my life, my family has been all of those, still a Muslim."
Rally organizers had just one day to put the event together after hearing about the ban Saturday night.
"To try and cultivate a sort of political consciousness and education,” organizer Muhammad Yousef said. “Through demonstrations like this, it's going to spur a lot of people to go out and learn by themselves, and that's really the first step."
Now a petition is circling the campus, asking University of Illinois officials to strengthen their protection for immigrant and refugee students.
"I probably disagree with them on a lot of other issues,” one student conservative, Clay Bahl said. “But this is such a fundamental American value that we're fighting for, I mean, we can't disagree on this, so I mean, I stand with them."
In just one night, the petition grew from 10 signatures, to over 600.
Local residents said the students are an inspiration.
"I think it shows,” Champaign resident, Sarah Lake-Rayburn, said, who brought her mother to the rally, “This community is not going to stand by and let this discrimination happen to those we care about in this community."
Eljawhari said while she is scared she feels better knowing hundreds are supporting her on campus.
"We want change,” Eljawhari said. “And it's not about race anymore or religion, or anything, because all of these people here are here to support each, because that's what American was founded on."
U of I President Timothy Killeen sent a mass email to the campus community.
"We are greatly concerned about the negative consequences...arising from president trump's...executive order,” he said. “We want to assure you we are working...to support and protect all..."
Students will present the petition to officials on Wednesday.
See the full petition.