De Anza stands in solidarity by voicing support at Muslim Student Association meeting

Seventy students, faculty, administration and leaders of De Anza College social justice groups joined the Muslim Student Association at its Jan. 30 meeting to show support following President Donald Trump’s order temporarily banning refugees and most citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries.

De Anza College President Brian Murphy reminded students about upcoming events supporting undocumented students, voiced support for the Muslim community and encouraged students to seek resources that were always available.

Murphy advised students to listen to other perspectives. “Give yourself the time to listen, and ask them to listen back,” Murphy said.

MSA Vice President Anisa Chaudhry said Murphy reached out to the club. “That means a lot if the person in charge of the school is protecting you,” Chaudhry said.

Director of Office of Equity Vanessa Delgado introduced Danny Acosta, campus security, who said his door was always open.

DASB Senate Vice President Stephanie Rigsby said she appreciated the faculty openly saying they will refuse to stay politically neutral. “I’ll stand up for you the same way you’ll stand up for me,” Rigsby said.

MSA social outreach and events coordinator Rabia Mohiuddin, 17, computer science major, said the crowd was amazing and heartwarming. “We can withstand whatever comes our way.”

MSA social outreach officer, Abdarrahman Ibrahim, 18, business administration major, said the crowd inspired him and made him optimistic for the future. “It was great to see everyone coming together for a common purpose.”

The goal of the first meeting was to get more members to join and see who MSA could build alliances with, Ibrahim said.

Chaudhry said the club wanted to create a safe space not only for Muslims, but everyone on campus, especially in this time when people feel oppressed, lonely and like the world is against them.

“Right now it’s all about taking action, … and making sure we have a place to be, a place to talk, a place to look forward to coming to,” Mohiuddin said.

Chaudhry presented a PowerPoint detailing the executive order and encouraged students to take actions such as educating themselves, contacting local representatives and attending protests.

“You just always want to be resisting,” Chaudhry said.

Everyone should be advocating for each other, Chaudhry said. “If one person is being oppressed, we’re all being oppressed.”

Higher Education for AB540 Students recruitment coordinator Brenda Pantoja said she hoped to collaborate with MSA and the other communities on campus.

“We’re all being affected by the same person, by the same administration,” Pantoja said. The meeting reminded her of the student demonstration HEFAS hosted post-election, she said.

“Even though I am very sad about what is going on,” Pantoja said. “It is kind of like a blessing in disguise because it’s bringing all of us together.”

Egyptian international student Mohammed Ayoub, 16, computer science major, said he appreciated the resources MSA provided. “I’ll definitely be attending as many meetings as I can and I’ll be doing everything I can help the cause,” Ayoub said.

ACLU board member Tom Izu, Executive Director of the California History Center and Foundation, said he attended because he strongly believes in promoting constitutional rights and standing up for groups facing scapegoating like what Japanese-Americans such as his parents and grandparents had to endure.

“Being active  —  whether it’s protesting, whether it’s doing all the things MSA members said we should be doing  — that’s what you’re supposed to do if you want to have a democracy,” Izu said.

Ibrahim concluded the meeting with a prayer for the safety of those in banned countries as well as in the future.

“I have never felt in danger on this campus,” Chaudhry said. “That’s because of the community I’m surrounded in.”

On Feb. 1, MSA celebrated World Hijab Day, commemorating the victims of the mosque attack in Quebec City last week and allowing De Anza College students to try out hijabs.

On Feb. 3, the club called U.S. senators to protest policies. An MSA representative will speak on Feb. 16, the Japanese Day of Remembrance.

Photo courtesy of MSA.