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'The Wire' creator David Simon to host Baltimore fundraiser to protest Trump immigration order

'The Wire' creator David Simon to host Baltimore fundraiser to protest Trump immigration order
David Simon, creator of such tv series as "The Wire," will host a rally to protest Donald Trump's immigration order on Monday. (Richard Shotwell / AP)

Baltimore writer David Simon is putting his money where his mouth is.

The creator of "The Wire" announced Wednesday that he will host a fundraiser to protest President Donald Trump's immigration order, and his production company will donate up to $100,000 in matching funds.

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The fundraiser for groups aiding refugees and immigrants will be held at 7 p.m. Monday at the Beth Am Synagogue, 2501 Eutaw Place in Reservoir Hill. Singer-songwriter Steve Earle will perform, and the lineup of speakers will include Simon; Beau Willimon, creator of the Netflix series "House of Cards"; Pulitzer Prize-winning author Taylor Branch and activist DeRay Mckesson.

Admission to the event technically is free. But, entry requires both a ticket and a donation to one of four groups helping visa holders and refugees: the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, the National Immigration Law Center, Tahirih Justice Center or the International Rescue Committee.

Simon's Blown Deadline Productions will match the sum raised at the door and through the event's online donation page up to $100,000.

Simon, the creator of several TV series and a former Baltimore Sun reporter, has been a fierce and vocal opponent to Trump's executive order that would bar entrance to the U.S. from citizens of seven Muslim-majority nations. The fundraiser, called "City of Immigrants: A Night of Support" is just his most recent salvo.

"This kind of American governance is not normal," he wrote in an email to The Baltimore Sun.

Simon has also helped popularize a general national strike scheduled for Feb. 17, the Friday before Presidents Day. The campaign's organizers are encouraging their supporters to stay home from work if they can do so without harm to themselves or others.

On Jan. 28, Simon tweeted: "If you believe in America, show it by refusing to work on the Friday before President's Day, Feb. 17. Let them know. #NationalStrike."

Those who must go to work are urged to protest during their lunch breaks or to spend one day in which they spend no money on groceries, gas or other purchases.

"The only metric recognized by the powers that be in this country now seems to be profit," he wrote in an email. "I understand the argument that economic normalcy itself validates this level of racism and nativism."

Simon also wrote that he will take Feb. 17 off and that his employees will have the day off as well. He plans to spend the day involved in community service of some sort, perhaps picking up trash in Riverside Park. He will also refrain from spending.

He added that he has "no clue as to how meaningful such a grassroots appeal will actually be on short notice, but maybe an Unpresident's Day action in 2017 will gather enough support so that if this misrule continues, the same effort in 2018 will build on it and be more profound."

mary.mccauley@baltsun.com

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