Thousands descended on Copley Square Sunday afternoon in protest of President Donald Trump's executive order, issued Friday, which blocks refugees from all over the world and immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States.
The protest, organized by the Massachusetts chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations, was also attended by Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, Congressman Joe Kennedy, and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.
Senator Warren blasted the order as religious discrimination and vowed to fight until it was "tossed in the dustbin of history."
"Let's be clear: Donald Trump's order has nothing to do with security. Little girls who flee murderers are not a threat to the United States. Elderly grandparents in airports are not a threat to the United States," she said.
"No, this order is not about terrorist threats. This order is about religious tests, and the United States does not impose religious tests—period," Warren continued.
Trump's order blocks refugees from all over the world from entering the United States over the next 120 days, blocks Syrian refugees indefinitely, and blocks for 90 days anyone seeking entry from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen. Today, after legal challenges from a federal judge and lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union, a Trump Administration official walked back part of the order by saying green card holders from those seven countries could still enter the U.S.
Speaking to the crowd at Copley, Senator Ed Markey called the order one of the "darkest days in the history of the United States."
"The poetic inscription on the base of the Statue of Liberty does not say 'Send back your tired, send back your poor, send back your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,'" he said.
"Today, Lady Liberty is weeping," Markey continued.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, whose parents are immigrants from Ireland, said Boston would rally around its immigrant and refugee communities.
"I want everyone to know, anyone who feels threatened, you are a beloved member of our community. We will protect you. The 28% of Boston immigrants like my mother and father—we will protect you. Boston was built by refugees and religious minorities and we will protect them today," he said.
Congressman Joe Kennedy, too, vowed to fight the executive order down in Washington, D.C.
"I am here to stand with you, stand by you, and fight with you," he said.
The crowd, which shouted chants like "this is what democracy looks like," stretched from the steps of the Trinity Church to the doors of the Boston Public Library.
Among them was Elijah Childs, a Boston resident who works in high-tech printing and production. He held a sign that said "Visa Denied" above a photograph of Anne Frank—the famous Jewish diarist murdered by the Nazis, whose family desperately tried and failed to gain entry to the U.S. as refugees.
"There's a Bible verse I was raised with that says 'to him who knows to do good and does not do it, it is sin,'" Childs said.
"I don't want to be able to talk to my grandchildren and [when they] say, 'what were you doing when they were rounding up people?...and say, 'Oh, it didn't affect me, so I stayed home and played video games," he said.