The first six months of a new President’s term are always the most influential ones; it is the time where citizens get to see if the promises made during the campaign will be kept. It typically takes a few months for the newly-elected to leader to be comfortable enough in the office to start making executive orders; however, it only took President Donald Trump one week. On Friday, Jan. 27, Trump signed an executive order titled “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.” This order prevents anyone from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States; additionally, it prevents any Syrian refugee from seeking asylum here. Many citizens are refusing to accept the order due to its singling out of one of America’s most oppressed minority populations.
Hundreds of thousands are protesting the order, but the protests are more financial than physical. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), an organization looking to sue the Trump administration, received $24 million in donations just over the weekend following the executive order. According to Vanity Fair, this is about “six times the amount the nonprofit usually raises in an entire year.” Many of the people donating and spreading the word are celebrities using their platform to speak out against the order.
Popular singer Sia took to Twitter to express the importance of donating to the ACLU, “Help our queer and immigrant friends. Send me your donation receipts to @ACLU and I will match up to $100K.” Comedian Rosie O’Donnell then piped in and stated that she would match Sia’s donation. The ride-sharing company Lyft also vowed to donate $1 million to the organization.
Several actors also used the Screen Actors Guild Awards as an outlet for expressing their outrage over the issue on Sunday, Jan. 29. Big Bang Theory actor Simon Helberg held up a sign on the red carpet that read, “Refugees welcome.” Meanwhile, his wife had “Let them in” written on her collarbone. During the opening of the awards ceremony, actor Ashton Kutcher reached out to those affected by the ban saying, “You are a part of the fabric of who we are and we love you and we welcome you.”
These are just a few of the countless people speaking out against the executive order. This is an excellent representation of why freedom of speech is so valuable; people have the ability to use their social media for voicing their beliefs and making an effort to protect oppressed populations. A controversial situation like this proves that letting others hear your voice, whether via a tweet or an acceptance speech, can make a difference.