PENNSYLVANIA – In a show of solidarity against anti-Muslim political rhetoric, Muslim and Jewish students in the University of Pennsylvania will co-sponsor a bus to the Women’s March on Washington this Saturday, only one day after Donald Trump inauguration day.
“This march and this bus will let us have a lot of the discussions that we need,” Nursing sophomore Du’aa Moharram, a member of the Muslim Student Association, told The Daily Pennsylvanian on Thursday, January 19.
Moharram and College junior Esther Cohen are the student coordinators from MSA and Penn Hillel.
Both students spoke of intolerance and “fears of cultural infiltration” they felt were promoted by the campaign of President-elect Trump.
For them, this display of solidarity will inspire an ongoing dialogue and partnership between MSA and Hillel at Penn.
“We [the Muslim-American and Jewish American communities] have a lot to give to each other,” Cohen said.
“With all the rhetoric against Muslims in the past presidential campaign, to me it really echoes the rhetoric that has been made against us [the Jewish community] for generations.”
The Women’s March on Washington is planned on January 21, just one day after president-elect Trump’s inauguration.
It will be attended by almost 200 progressive groups, which represent varied fields, including environment, legal abortion, prisoners’ rights, voting rights, a free press, affordable healthcare, gun safety, racial and gender equality and a higher minimum wage.
The interfaith-sponsored bus, like the Women’s March on Washington, allows students with little to no background in social justice to become “motivated and energized by their reactions to the past election,” Rabbi Ilana Schacter said, who is a Penn senior Jewish educator and campus rabbi.
The interfaith activism for both Cohen and Moharram developed after election results, uniting in solidarity as an interfaith opposition to Trump.
“We are only stronger together,” Cohen said. “This is a moment for change and cross-cultural exchange.”
Their goals remain simple.
“We will be a force of solidarity, and a message to Trump, the new administration, and to the country.” Moharram said.
“It is now critical for student groups to be active allies together.”