Over 10,000 New Yorkers crammed into Battery Park, which had its grass fenced off – so space was limited. People surrounded all sides of the speakers’ stage, on which both Sen. Cory Booker and Mayor Bill de Blasio decried Trump’s executive order. Getting to the protest on time was a bad idea – already by 2pm (the planned start of the event) the stage was pretty much out of sight. Much like the Women’s March in Washington DC the week before, the organizers clearly underestimated the number of people that wanted to show solidarity. Another good sign for anyone worried if enough people would actually take up the fight against this administration.
Much like the march the week before there was an amazing array of signs and representation from all Americans. Children held signs that they made themselves on cardboard, which declared “Not my President!” Malcolm and Lilia, both from Brooklyn weren’t happy at all about the changes that President Trump was making for the country.
Isaac from Washington Heights in Manhattan told me the reason that he attended the march: “I realize that I’m a religious Jew and I have to be out here because it’s not ok to turn people away who are fleeing for their lives – especially after you told them that they were allowed in.”
A self described conservative, he didn’t agree with some of the other protests that had already happened under this administration – but held a sign that stated “I accept the obligation to love the stranger.”
For some of the protesters an immigrant ban of any kind hit home. Fahmida from Brooklyn, NY told me, “I cannot imagine what it feels like to be turned around at such a vulnerable point. My family is an immigrant family, we become citizens 10 years ago. Just like any immigrant family knows, you leave behind everything to start a life over.”
Caleb Pan, also from Brooklyn, had a story of how, even in the liberal city of New York, Trump’s hate has spread. On a normal train ride in the city a bunch of teenagers were acting up – and one started spewing racial epithets at him and other passengers. I asked him if he felt as though racists were emboldened by the President’s words – “Yes, most definitely! Racism still exists in America, it’ll be here for a long time unless we act proactively, address it, it’s going to keep coming up. The fact that Donald Trump has emboldened these people, it’s scary.”
There was one suspicious Donald Trump supporter there – a man by the name of “Joe” who claimed that he was lost on the way to a red hat rally. The odd thing is that he looked suspiciously like lefty comedian John Fugelsang… you’ll have to decide. Watch the video below.