Russell Simmons helped lead a gathering of thousands Sunday in New York at the "I Am a Muslim Too" Rally, which declared solidarity with those targeted by Donald Turmp's "Muslim ban" executive order.
"We are here today to show middle America our beautiful signs and, through our beautiful actions and intention, that they have been misled," the Def Jam founder and mogul told the Times Square crowd. "We are here unified because of Donald Trump. We want to thank him for bringing us together."
Simmons, Imam Shamsi Ali and Rabbi Marc Schneier orchestrated the rally, which drew people like New York mayor Bill de Blasio ("I'll be there today and I hope you'll be there too," the mayor tweeted), activist Linda Sarsour and rapper Q-Tip.
"We have to acknowledge there's a change in our country. We have been fighting Islamophobia for many years, but there is a shift towards more hate crimes and more hate," Simmons added Sunday. "But at the same time, we have to recognize there's also an acknowledgement of that hate and a connectivity that it brings, and a partnership and unity that it brings, so we can have this lovefest today."
Earlier in the week, Simmons penned an article for Global Citizen pinpointing how facts could combat against Trump's executive order.
"Everyone except white privileged males are in immediate danger," Simmons said in a statement prior to the rally. "African Americans, women, Latinos, Asians and LGBTQ are all at risk, but there is no freedom in that privileged status either because the spirit of the oppressor is oppressed as well. We are living in a time when unity will make America great. This is a special moment for all Americans of good will to band together to promote the kind of compassion and equality for others that we want for ourselves."