Cofounder of the legendary hip-hop label Def Jam, Russell Simmons, announced that he will be hosting a march in solidarity with Muslims in New York City’s Times Square on Sunday the 19th of February. The march was in large part sparked by U.S. President Donald Trump’s now failed attempts to impose a travel ban on individuals from 7 Muslim-majority countries. However, the march is intended to champion the cause of not only Muslims, with Simmons stating:
Everyone except white privileged males are in immediate danger. African Americans, women, Latinos, Asians and LGBTQ are all at risk, but there is no freedom in that privileged status either because the spirit of the oppressor is oppressed as well. We are living in a time when unity will make America great. This is a special moment for all Americans of good will to band together to promote the kind of compassion and equality for others that we want for ourselves.
The rally will also be hosted by Rabbi Marc Schneier, founder and president of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, and active member of inter-faith dialogue between Muslims and Jews, as well as Imam Shamsi Ali, director of the Jamaica Muslims Center in the Queen’s borough of New York. Among those who will be speaking at the event are community activist and Palestinian American, Linda Sarsour, and Muslim Girl founder and tech entrepreneur, Amani al-Khatahtbeh.
The rally follows a number of other events that have taken place in response to Trump’s election and his early attempts at policy, most famously, the Women’s March that took place on the day after Trump’s inauguration and reportedly drew between half a million and a million people.
Simmons, a devoted Christian yogi, wrote, “I feel and believe all Americans should feel personally threatened by Trump’s choices to target Muslims. Targeting any one of us is in fact targeting all of us.”. Simmons has already publicly criticized his former friend’s actions in an open letter, aptly titled, “To My Old Friend Donald Trump, Stop The Bullsh*t” in which he called on Trump to, “Stop fueling fires of hate. Don’t feed into the rhetoric created by small-minded people”.
The press release announcing the march, written by Simmons, declared that, “The people are joining hands and voices in a chorus of perpetual and powerful resistance. We the people declare Trump’s ban as morally, politically, economically, and ethically unconstitutional. Signing off with, “Targeting any one of us is in fact targeting all of us. The people united cannot be divided. See you there.”