Speaking on a cold, rainy and blustery morning, community leaders on Friday talked about how this long-term relationship can help people better understand one another and stand in solidarity to protect justice and civil rights for all.
Several who spoke stated how Muslims and Latinos, particularly refugees and immigrants, have been the most threatened by Trump’s rhetoric during the election season including his proposal for a Muslim ban, building a border wall, eliminating paths to citizenship for undocumented individuals and creating a Muslim registry.
“The first step is to get to know one another,” said Shakeel Syed, executive director of Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development. “We will share food and share stories. The second phase is to get all Orange County communities involved in this united front against hate and discrimination.”
Anaheim councilman Jose Moreno said a coming together of communities will be crucial under the new administration.
“We are all Americans in the human sense, not in the ethnic sense,” he said. “We are all human.”
The collaboration means that Muslim and Latino communities “are going to be proactive, not reactive,” said Minerva Gomez, an immigrant rights organizer.
“Our communities have been targets or focal points in this election,” she said. “We don’t know what’s going to happen, but now, at least, we know we’ll stand together.”
Muslim and Latino communities already have a connection in Orange County, but the new collaborative formalizes it, said Nicole Alhakawati, spokeswoman for the Islamic Institute of Orange County.
“The only big challenge we face to move forward as one community,” she said, “is closed minds and hearts.”