Dawn Hubbell-Staeble has been attending rallies and protests since she joined her family at a mobilization following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. as a child. Since then she hasn’t slowed down, having participated in the Women’s March in Washington D.C. earlier this month.
“I think it’s important to let our voices be heard,” Hubbell-Staeble said.
On Sunday night she was one of roughly 250 community members, students and University faculty who gathered together sporting signs and candles to show their support of immigrant and refugees, as well astheir disapproval of President Trump’s recent executive order which temporarily restricts travel and immigration into the United States from seven countries. Hubbell-Staeble feels particularly connected to this issue given her history.
“I came to the US as an immigrant as a child and had a green card until I was naturalized,” she said. “And this really angers me.”
A senior lecturer at the University, Hubbell-Staeble predicts that this ban will negatively impact the college.
“The current ban will affect international enrollment, which Bowling Green is trying to improve, and our ability to recruit quality faculty,” she said.
She advised that University students get involved with this cause as it greatly impacts them.
Graduate student Meriem Mechehoud, who was also in attendance, agreed.
“Many of the students are directly affected,” she said.
An international student from Algeria, Mechehoud said she was heartened by the community’s reaction to the executive order.
“It’s really nice to see people showing their love to us, and the least we can do is join them.”
The event was organized by Megan Rancier, who created a Facebook event the previous night and was happy to see such a large turn out.
“I’m overwhelmed,” she said. “It was just a spur of the moment idea that people connected with.”
Two petitions were circulating at the event, one addressed to Senator Portman and the other to Representative Latta asking them to “condemn this executive order and take immediate legislative action to overturn it.”
The hour long vigil, which took place on the corner of Wooster and Church Street, had several speakers, including members of the local government. City Councilman Daniel Gordon criticized the executive order and spoke on the need for acceptance.
“We will tolerate no hate in Bowling Green,” he said. “All of this illegal, it’s unconstitutional and it’s stupid. America was built by immigrants and refugees."
Other speakers included members of the University’s Persian Students Association, the Muslim Students Association, the Toledo Music Association and Rev. Gary Saunders, Not In Our Town’s community co-chairman and the co-pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Bowling Green.
Rancier ended the event by encouraging those in attendance not to despair, but to take action.
“You can always do something,” she said.
Yesterday, in response to the executive order and the impact it may have on the university, the Office of the President at the University issued a statement revealing they plan on supporting international students and faculty.
“BGSU will be advocating for affected students and all members of our international community with our representatives in Congress and in collaboration with Ohio’s Inter-University Council, the Association of American Universities, and other higher education organizations,” President Mary-Ellen Mazey said in the statement.