The Grapeleaf Diner at 909 S. McCord Rd., Holland, Oh. on Monday, Feb 6, was a place that likely set a record with people of all faiths, denominations, religions, race, faiths, and vocations. They came together for an hour of power that promised to keep the pace and set the tone for love to erase hate, and to send a message to President Trump that Toledoeans stand together in spite of, and by any means necessary. The gathering of the group met responding to the President ‘s executive order for a temporary ban on entry into the U. S. by people from seven predominantly Muslim countries. It has been interpreted by legal constituents to be a MUSLIM BAN!
Pastors, Imams, Politicians, Leaders, Brothers, Sisters, and citizens all came together to support Muslim brothers, sisters, and families to say that “we are compelled by who we are and whose we are to support you”. The room quickly filled up with speaker after speaker who reiterated the serious disapproval of the travel ban that was set out to keep Muslims from entering the United States.
Pastor Cedric Brock, President of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, assembled a jam packed room at The Grapeleaf Diner, with more than 50 people who spoke vehemently and emphatically against the implemented order. Many believe that the order ultimately continues to echo a divided America instead of bridging gaps in America.
Pastor James Willis of T. U. S. A, St. Paul Baptist Church, and The American Baptist Association with 238 churches, stated that it is necessary for him to be a part of what is happening in this effort because God has not called us to be strangers but unified by his divine purpose for each of our lives, no matter the color. He stated that their motto stems from MIcah 6:8, and the goal is to build healthy churches to serve the Lord.
Pastor Larry Clark, of the Monroe United Methodist Church, stated that his purpose for being present was to make a statement indicating that we are not going to let hate, prejudice, and fear control what and how we act with each other. We stand together.
President S. Rehman, of the United Muslim Association of Toledo, stated that the purpose was to gather here to show that we are one nation different in color, but as Americans we are one and we must stick together with one another no matter the race or ethnicity, the good and bad days. He explained that he was so encouraged to see so many Non Muslims present today. He states that “home is not where you are born but where you belong”.
Pastor Cedric Brock of the I. M. A. further stated that many had come together to let the Muslim brothers and sisters know that we are a people that stand for something because if we don’t we will fall for anything. He believes that the show of strength at this Press Conference will send a message loud and clear that we are united with our brothers. He led the group into several chants but the one that seemed to resonate was “TOGETHER WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL”!
Mr. Ray Wood , President of N. A. A. C. P. stated that his reason for being present was to reiterate that their mission is sustained for all people. He stated that we have to be diligent not just for the action of bad people but for the silence of good people. He led the group into this chant: Love Trumps Hate!
Pastor T. K. Barger of the First Unitarian Church stated that Toledo was a model of how people can live together knowing that we are all neighbors, supportive of each other, people coming together saying that this is a place where we want to live, demonstrating how we are different, yet together.
Pastor Robert Lyons, President of the Baptist Alliance, stated that he is a product of surviving bigotry, hatred, having lived in the South where he had to walk through the back door but can now walk through the front door, living that he will let nothing separate him from the love of God.
A trustee of the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo stated that he was inspired from looking at the turnout of the gatherings that had taken place at the Open House that they had as well as today, because as he looked at what African Americans have endured, he believes that we can endure this and certainly with the help of our brothers and sisters.
Several in the room were asked to speak, some of which were Dr. Cecilia Adams, Bishop Marjorie Holt, Pastor Don Farthergill, Councilman Larry Sykes, Representatives from the Islamic and Buddhist Communities and Commissioner Tina Wozniak, who stated that when she looked at the presence of such great leaders in the room, how could we fail. Fighting and working together will cause the community to overcome the ignorance and cruelty that exists.
Mayor Paula Hicks Hudson stated that she was inspired by what she witnessed in the room because what she knows is that Toledo is a city who comes together when it is determined to get things done and make things happen. She further reiterated that the hatred that is shared at the level that it is will not deter Toledo from standing and being our brother’s keeper. She is determined to show the support that is needed to ensure that Toledo continues to be a city of Inclusion, which will be further echoed in council Chambers on Tuesday in a resolution.
The court is scheduled to hear/challenge President Trump’s travel ban. There are two things that are being looked at:
1. Should the stay remain in effect
2. Does the state of Washington have a lawsuit
Sean Spicer, Press Secretary to the President, says that the law is on the President’s side but the court will decide. However, the independent judiciary determines the constitution. There are several polls that show a strong refusal to accept the travel ban. One of which is a CNN poll that shows 53% oppose the Immigration Ban. Another poll is The Gallup Poll. It shows that 55% oppose the Ban, which national political analysts also believes contributes to President Trump’s overall job approval rate being at an all time low of 52%.
The verdict is still out as to what decision will be made regarding the travel Ban being executed. However, there is one thing that is sure in the hearts and minds of the attendees at this press conference, and that is the darkness that overrides this order will not be sustained and tolerated by those who believe like Dr. Martin Luther King, that the light that shines in this city will always wipe out darkness no matter where it exists. We support our Muslim brothers and sisters.