Once known for its Polish immigrants, Hamtramck, Michigan is now recognized as the first city in America with a Muslim-majority City Council – four out of six members are Muslim. Known as “the world in two square miles,” the city has the highest percentage of immigrants in the state (approximately 44%), and more than 30 languages are spoken there.
The city has been directly impacted by Trump’s proposed travel ban as approximately 20% of the residents are from Yemen. Case in point, local resident Salah Hadwan. When Mr. Hadwan received news that family members were turned away as they made their way to the U.S. from Yemen, he organized a protest rally which was attended by a thousand locals. Claire Nowak-Boyd was one of the attendees and says, “I’m most worried about my neighbors and their lives, but specifically for the future of Hamtramck itself. If we stem the flow of people who made this their home and revitalized it, what is it going to look like?”
Teen Vogue makes a striking point about the unique town: “If you don’t live here, it’s difficult to understand this place full of complexity and cross-pollination, where so many multicultural elements coexist — where the sounds of Detroit techno spill out of a record store to meld with the broadcast of the Islamic call to prayer. In fact, as the polarization and profiling of America by background and religion flourished in political talking points, a mural went up in Hamtramck, proclaiming it the ‘home of diversity.’ Even in its choice of art, the city made it clear that it had emerged as a place where acceptance wasn’t conditional.”