Monday, May 27, 2024

City councillor Nadeem Mazen prepares to speak after U.S. Sen. Ed Markey at a Jan. 29 protest in Boston in a photo by Jeff Dietrich from Mazen’s Facebook page. Click on the image to see the source.

The mayor, vice mayor and clergy plan an hourlong “Rally For Unity” for 4:30 p.m. Monday on the steps of City Hall “to show the world that we stand for social justice and that we, as a community, intend to continue to fight for equality for all.”

A more extensive Saturday morning event in Somerville – a “Sanctuary City Rally” with music and dancing hosted by city government and The Welcome Project at the city’s high school – drew a reported 4,800 people.

The Cambridge event was still coming together as the City Council met Monday, a reaction to events of the previous week that “brought fear and intolerance to our country and world,” vice mayor Marc McGovern said on a Facebook event page that by Saturday evening had drawn more than 400 people indicating they would attend. Fellow city councillors and state Rep. Mike Connolly were among those planning to be there.

It wasn’t the only reaction by officials to Trump administration policies, mainly a freeze on entry to the United States by immigrants and refugees from seven nations where Islam is the predominant religion. The freeze, blocked by a federal judge Friday and the subject of a failed Justice Department appeal over the weekend, affected between 60,000 and 100,000 visa holders, some of whom hold green cards for U.S. residency.

People “have suffered needlessly in the past couple of weeks,” said councillor Nadeem Mazen, the first Muslim elected to a government post in Massachusetts, who spoke Jan. 29 at a rally against the ban in a thronged Copley Square in Boston. McGovern was onstage alongside Mazen, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, among others; councillor Jan Devereux was in the crowd, and said she suspected that Cantabrigians made up a significant percentage of the many thousands of people there.

Councillors also discussed and adopted a motion by Mazen to go on record opposing the travel ban, opposing future such orders “violating the constitutional rights of Muslims and therefore the constitutional rights of all Americans” and letting President Donald Trump – as well as Gov. Charlie Baker and all members of the state’s Congressional delegation – know of the stance by sending of official copies of the resolution.

“I love having the opportunity to send a suitably engrossed copy to President Trump. Maybe we’ll even get a tweet out of it,” Devereux said. She suggested getting a Twitter account that Trump’s own Twitter account could exchange messages with directly, “because I don’t think is the [last] suitably engrossed copy he’s going to get” from Cambridge.

While councillors agreed unanimously to make a statement, they acknowledged that it was, after all, just a statement. “I don’t anticipate that Mr. Trump – that’s how I refer to him – will get this resolution and say, ‘Gee, let me rethink things,’ but it’s important for our community to … do everything we can, even if that is sending a resolution in resistance,” McGovern said.

Councillor Craig Kelley had the most pessimistic take, noting that Mazen’s resolution called the order “likely [to] be ruled unconstitutional” but, with Trump the one making nominations for the tie-breaking seat on the Supreme Court, “I see see no tea leaves the future Supreme Court will agree with anything that we feel strongly about.”

“It’s one thing to be hopeful, it’s another thing to be delusional,” Kelley said. “We need to be realistic with what the future holds. I know ‘delusional’ was a strong word, and I apologize, but this is bleak. This is really bleak.”