Pro-Refugee Protesters in Reno: “Open the door and let ’em in”

Story and photos by Robyn Feinberg

Demonstrations over the U.S. ban on refugees and nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries have been taking place worldwide in airports, streets and city plazas including in Reno. On Friday, a Seattle judge blocked the order.

Say it loud, say it clear! Refugees are welcome here! No hate! No fear! Everyone is welcome here!

A See-Saw Situation

On January 29, the sounds of this chant and many others could be heard clearly in downtown Reno as protesters lined the sides of the Virginia Street Bridge, joining in opposition to President Donald Trump’s executive order on January 27, which suspended the entry of all refugees into the United States for 120 days. Entry for Syrian refugees was halted indefinitely, while visitors from the following countries: Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen, were barred from U.S. entry for 90 days.

But on Friday, a federal judge in Seattle issued a ruling temporarily blocking the U.S. president’s order, a decision that applies nationwide to tens of thousands of people holding visas to travel to the U.S.

“My family immigrated to the U.S. [from Mexico] in the early 1920s and now they’ve been able to get their citizenship, but it’s been difficult, and that’s why I’m here to support immigrants, to support people that have been in my position, and also people who do have their visas right now that are being trapped in the airport…that’s why I’m here,” Ruth Salas said at last month’s protest in Reno.

Protesters in Reno

Many people called Trump’s order “un-American” and unconstitutional. Numerous signs had the words “Bridges Not Walls”.

Tod Colegrove, from the University of Nevada, Reno, said he believes that support is the best thing that we can give during this time.

Tod Colegrove with the #WeRemember sign: “We really need to show support for one another…. My family may have come here 6 generations ago, but it’s not an excuse to be slamming the gates shut,” Colegrove said.

“It’s a moral majority, a majority of these people that are outraged and upset,” Colegrove said at last month’s protest. “This can’t stand, we need to do something to shine the light on the nonsense that is going on…There’s no wall between right and wrong, and I think we need to keep that in mind.”

The most common message at the protest was held high by a child on Reno’s Virginia Street Bridge.

Photos and Reporting by Robyn Feinberg for the Reynolds MediaLab

Like what you read? Give Reynolds Sandbox a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.