By Albert Fox Cahn, Esq.
CAIR-NY Director of Strategic Litigation
Yesterday, CAIR-NY gave a civil rights training at NYU, when a young woman raised her hand to describe a conversation with Rep. Mike Honda about his childhood in a Japanese internment camp. When she asked the Congressman if Muslim internment camps would be possible today, he said “yes.” Her voice shaking, she asked if we thought it was possible. It floored me, and for a moment I had no idea what to say. Then I looked out the windows behind her, and I saw the protest unfolding in Washington Square. Thousands of New Yorkers, coming together to stand against Donald Trump's unconstitutional campaign promises.
My response was this: “No, that will never happen. The reason isn’t found in the wording of our Constitution or the wisdom of our founders. It won’t happen because the people of this city, this state, and this flawed country will never let it happen. In the wake of Pearl Harbor there were no protests, there was no dissent, there was no solidarity with our Japanese neighbors. Today, there is an army of lawyers and activists primed to fight this presidency every step of the way. Khizir Khan famously asked Donald Trump if he had ever read the Constitution. I promise you, we and other civil libertarians will teach him what it means.”
CAIR-NY will do everything I can to uphold that promise, and I know that there are many others toiling away to do the same. I ask those of you who aren’t in a position to join this work directly, please donate to the groups who will, such as CAIR-NY (http://www.cair-ny.org/donate). Please add your voices to the chorus of Americans who say that our nation and our values are more resilient than any one man, even a President.