Hundreds of protesters gathered Monday at Tompkins Square Park Rally Against Hate, and many carried creative signs including this unofficial quote from Lady Liberty herself. Photo Credit: Cassidy Morrison
Hundreds gathered at Tompkins Square Park tonight for the Rally Against Hate, displaying signs that supported an end to racism, the ban on Muslim refugees, the proposed building of a border wall, and women’s reproductive rights. This was just the latest in a week fraught with protests and marches against the new Trump Administration’s executive actions.
The recent proliferation of protests and grassroots movements points to increased public discourse on politics and human rights. The Rally Against Hate was one example of an energized city eager to invoke change in Washington.
“This is a school night, and look how many people are here,” Sheryl Nelson, 41 of the West Village said, pointing to her 12-year-old son. “There have been protests in D.C. in the past about pro-choice, against nuclear war, what have you, and I feel like I’ve never seen so many people out protesting.. I think that elected officials will see that people are showing up and protesting and chanting, and hopefully that will inspire them to do the right thing,” Nelson said.
Rather than dwelling on the fear that permeates throughout the country, protesters expressed their optimism that public demonstrations would inspire the public at large to get involved with a cause that they care about.
“I wish we didn’t have to do it this way, but the good side is that we have a lot of people active,” said Tamira Wyndham, 48 of the East Village. “My purpose here is to encourage people to do more than just attend protests, but also to get involved with an organization and work on specific things, whether they want to change a law or whatever they want to do.”
Wyndham stressed the need for protesters to go further than attending a demonstration.
“I think protests are really important, but I don’t think they’re enough by themselves,” Wyndham said. “A one-time protest is great, but it doesn’t do anything by itself. You have to keep the pressure. These are great, but there needs to be more.”
Amid loud chants of “Dump Trump”, protesters chatted excitedly with their neighbors. They complimented each other’s signs. They munched side by side on free vegan donuts being passed around.
“I think this woke something up in people, it got people off the couch and on the streets instead of complaining,” said Joy Lau, 32 of the East Village. “When I came here and saw that there are so many people actually protesting, putting in their time, standing in the cold, I see that we all need this support.”
Lau, among others, expressed the importance of carrying on widespread movements and protests like this one, in order to give people a new outlet for expressing themselves while remaining in solidarity with one another. This was not, in her view, sore losers commiserating but rather hopeful citizens showing strength.
“I don’t know if this is the new normal because it’s not normal at all,” Lau said.” I think it’s actually good that all of us came out in the first week. It’s like a frog being put in slowly boiling water. If this came out slowly, we might not notice it. We know that we have to take action. The feeling is that we have to do something right now.”
Lau’s urgency has been echoed across the country and will, in her view and in that of many, continue throughout the next four years as more people feel the need to let their voices be heard.
Concerned New Yorkers gathered at JFK International Airport’s Terminal 4 to protest President Trump’s executive order that barred entry into the United States refugees from seven majority Muslim countries. Photo by Cora Cervantes
“Let them In! Let them In!” roared thousands of New Yorkers outside of Terminal 4 at John F. Kennedy International airport.
Rez Iriqui, 36, from Long Island, watched nearby and listened intently as he held his young son over his shoulders.
“I am an immigrant,” he said. “I am not a protester. I work on Wall Street, but I am here because I am worried about the future of my children. Within the last five days we have seen things that I thought would never have happened in America.”
Iriqui and his family joined thousands of New Yorkers yesterday who gathered outside of Terminal 4 to express outrage over President Trump’s executive order banning travel into the United States from seven Muslim-majority countries.
Early Saturday morning word spread that due to the new executive order issued by the Trump administration on Friday evening, travelers had been detained inside airports across the country and were not permitted entry into the country. Through posts and calls to action on social media a mass protest began to form at Terminal 4. Among the protesters were many immigrants who said they knew what was at stake for the refugees seeking shelter in America.
“I come from an immigrant background and an immigrant family,” said Farhan Hossain, 25, who came from Manhattan’s Flatiron district to join the demonstration. “I am here to stand in solidarity with refugees that are being detained. I am against a Trump regime that implements fascist measures that detain people indefinitely.”
The order barred entry into the United States to Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia, seven majority Muslim countries that have been categorized as “countries of particular concern.” The order also suspended the United States refugee program for the next four months, outlines increased screenings and will prioritize Christian refugees. The seven countries listed are not responsible for any terrorist attacks in America. Opponents argue that the list can be construed as arbitrary and a conflict of interest since the list does not include Muslim-majority countries where the Trump Organization does business, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.
By late afternoon protesters at JFK held signs that read “Let Them In,” and chanted “Resist, Fight Back, This is Our New York!” People remained outside the terminal late into the evening in spite of the cold temperatures. As the crowds grew the mood was tense but also filled with solidarity. Some protesters arrived with coffee, donuts, and hand warmers to show support for all those that had been protesting under cold weather conditions since noon.
“I am tremendously upset by what President Trump has done,” said Jessica Valentino, 28, who came out from Greenpoint, Brooklyn. “I am an adoptee, I came into the country when I was 3 months old…to think of all the families and other people trying to come here that no longer have that opportunity is absolutely heartbreaking.”
At 6:30 p.m. protesters kneeled and listened to updates concerning the state of those being detained. Across the street near the entrance to Terminal 4, which had been closed and was guarded by police in riot gear, Azi Amari, 37, from Brooklyn, held a sign up toward them.
“I am Iranian, I was going to travel in two weeks to visit my family in Iran.They all live there. Even though I am a green card holder. I cannot come back if I go,” she said “My family is so shocked. We are trying to figure what will happen next. Based on this new ban they are not allowed to come visit me. I think this is unfair. It is totally discrimination.”
At about 7:30 p.m. protesters received word that Judge Ann M. Donnelly had issued an emergency stay that halted deportations of those being detained. This ruling was based on a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of two individuals who had been detained at John F. Kennedy International Airport. The ruling addressed those being barred entry at airports in the United States, but does not address those who are trapped abroad.
As protesters marched around Terminal 4, some were heading to the courthouse to join others who wanted to be briefed following the ruling, including Mazeba Uddin, 50, Jamaica Hills, Queens and an immigrant from Bangladesh.
“We are strong together,” she said. “Our country, Our community is strong – Trump is not strong. Our millions of votes count, he needs to understand that.”
Protests at airports throughout the country are set to continue until those being detained are released.
Don Krogman came from West Babylon, New York to see the inauguration. Photo by Rebeca Corleto.
The overflow areas went unused. White plastic temporary flooring intended to be filled with supporters extended well past the last person in attendance. The inauguration of President Donald Trump yesterday did not live up to the hype.
“I was shocked at how empty it is here,” said Sami Mehta, 18, a Dartmouth student who stopped by to see the inauguration in person.
Though the crowd was unimpressive in number, that didn’t detract from the excitement his supporters felt on the first day of his presidency.
Don Krogman, 55, from West Babylon, New York lost his job at Victoria’s Secret, and has been out of work for a year and a half. He calls himself a “forgotten 55-year-old”, left behind by a changing society.
“When you hear, ‘you’re bigoted, you’re a racist, you’re an idiot for voting—.’ How does that make you feel? I turn around and say, ‘I’m gonna do it again next year,’” he said.
A lifelong Democrat, Krogman became an Independent after 9/11. His distrust of government and need for change, drove him to Trump.
“I would’ve voted for [Bernie] Sanders until we found out that the Democrats don’t believe in democracy and selected Hillary [Clinton] to be their champion,” he said.
Halfway between the Capitol and the Washington Monument the crowd thinned out. It was a vastly different scene than 2009, when the crowd spilled into the overflow areas, filling the National Mall for Obama’s first inauguration. Early estimates judge the Trump inauguration to have attracted one-third of the crowd of Obama’s. Many of the best seats at the inaugural parade were empty.
Bridget Begdin of just outside Denver, Colorado, said Trump was her ideal candidate.
“I think everybody’s energized and excited about the new direction of our country,” she said. “Everyone is hopeful, there’s excitement.”
But his message of hope doesn’t translate outside of his overwhelmingly white supporters. And the aggressive, dark tone of his inauguration speech, left non-Trump supporters with a different vibe.
“I definitely feel a lot of anger here,” said Rahul Califya, 19, of the Bay Area in California. “It’s less hopeful and more of a [feeling of] reclaiming something that was taken away from us, a sort of revenge.”
Many of Trump supporters drove hundreds of miles to witness his inauguration.
David Wallace, 63, of Boaz, Alabama wore the red “Make America Great Again” hat, the ubiquitous accessory of Trump’s supporters. His Auburn University poncho kept him dry when the rain fell on cue with Trump’s inaugural address.
“I drove in a pick up truck, takes about 11 hours,” he said. “He’s great, worth all the trouble. He made a great speech. There were so many protestors, we had a hard time getting in, running the gaunlet to get in here. The turnout was really good.”
Though Wallace is rooting for Trump, he is not blindly optimistic about the new presidency. The message was clear: Trump is on thin ice and expected to perform. Wallace’s main concerns were “getting people working again” and strengthening the military and borders.
“He’s gonna pull the country together and if he doesn’t, in four years we’ll put him out of office,” he said.
About 200 people gathered in east Minneapolis for a rally and march to denounce hate speech and hate crimes against Muslims. They marched to a nearby Republican Party office to denounce the rhetoric of GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump. Protesters also denounced government surveillance of the Somali community. Photo by Fibonacci Blue
Harsh words about many groups including LGBT people, the disabled, African Americans, Hispanics and women have been at the forefront of this campaign season. Muslims have been particularly under fire amid the slew of terrorist attacks both abroad and domestically. Republican nominee Donald J. Trump’s call for a ban on Muslims entering the US has helped unite Muslim communities and inspire voters to voice their opinions.
“I’m calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on,” Trump’s campaign said in a release in December 2015. Trump later said his ban would, in fact, be temporary. “It’s a temporary ban. It hasn’t been called for yet. Nobody’s done it,” he said on Fox News Radio in May. Trump’s rhetorical attack on a Muslim family whose son was killed in Iraq while serving in the U.S. military, and his willingness to consider closing down American mosques have added to the turmoil in Muslim communities.
Egyptian-American Yasmeen El-Shakh, a 21-year-old Rutgers University student, believes Trump and his stance on Muslims threaten the fabric of American society. “I feel it is deeply unconstitutional,” she said. “It goes against everything the US stands for which is the idea that your religion shouldn’t be a factor into how you are treated in the US, a country founded on religious freedom.”
El-Shakh is part of a larger Muslim community that has spoken out against Trump and his attacks on the Islamic religion. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has criticized Trump’s rhetoric, highlighting a few points about Muslims, including the proposed ban on Muslims entering the US, on its website. CAIR is also providing forums for Muslim Americans to voice their opinions on the upcoming election and address any specific concerns for their community.
Zogby Analytics, an independent pollster, conducted a survey asking Arab Americans who they plan to vote for on Election Day. The survey found 12 percent of Arab-Americans support Trump, while 67 percent are rooting for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton to become the next president. “The poll found that a majority of Arab Americans identify with the Democratic Party, the highest percentage since the 2008 presidential election,” Jim Zogby, founder of Zogby Analytics wrote on his website.
While the Zogby poll found that the majority of Muslims support Clinton, the Trump campaign has done little to attract this increasingly important voter bloc. According to the Hill, a top US political website, Trump’s foreign policy advisor Walid Phares did reach out to popular Muslim Republicans back in May urging them to organize for Trump. However, the outreach from the Trump campaign to gain support from the Muslim community has been anything but successful.
According to the US Census, there are roughly two million Arab Americans living in the US, and the Arab American Institute says 91 percent are planning to vote on Election Day. The Institute says, “Arab Americans live in all 50 states, but two thirds are concentrated in 10 states; one third of the total live in California, New York, and Michigan.” With such a direct attack on more than two million individuals, the Arab American community is speaking out.
American Muslim Political Action Committee (AMPAC) and the Arab American Institute are working to empower the Arab and Muslim vote in the US. Jennifer Salan, communications head at the Arab American Institute, wants to enable Arab Americans to make their voices heard. The Institute created the “Yalla Vote” initiative, meaning “Go Vote” in Arabic, to help Arab-American communities make a difference and voice opinions. The Institute is bi-partisan and has not endorsed a candidate but is generating excitement for the Arab community. “We host registration events at mosques, churches, college campuses and restaurants to engage everyone in the community,” Salan said, adding that “we are all stronger when we are all engaged and active in our communities.”
This year, the Arab American Institute is launching a ‘Yalla Vote’ hotline to respond to any voting questions prior to Election Day. “We at the Arab American Institute are doing our part to ensure that Arab Americans are registered, organized, informed and ready to cast their ballots on November 8th,” said Salan.
Faizan Riaz, a 22-year old student at Georgetown University, believes the “Yalla Vote” initiative is a good way to engage communities. “As a Pakistani Muslim, I find that especially in this election, it’s important to get out and vote and not just sit back and complain about the outcome,” he wrote in email. Riaz believes Trump and his proposed ban on Muslims further divides Americans and marginalizes minorities. “It really comes down to the fact that his rhetoric inspires so much hate and that some people don’t even notice,” he wrote. “It kind of reminds you of how the Japanese were feeling during WWII [World War II] or even the beginning of the rise of Hitler. You don’t know what’ll happen but you just feel this animosity around you sometimes that makes you scared to be where you are.”
While Muslims around the world are weighing in on the upcoming US Presidential Election, there is no question there is a sense of animosity among Muslim communities towards Trump’s campaign. As the election nears, Trump’s campaign will be put to the test to see if marginalizing this minority group will cost him the election.
Damien Davis stands in front of his politically themed abstract sculpture, “2016” at the Joshua Liner Gallery. Photo by Alexander Gonzalez
Alfred Steiner was inspired to create his politically-charged art curated exhibit, with the provocative title — “Why I Want to Fuck Donald Trump” — by the 1967 J.G. Ballard faux scientific abstract, “Why I Want to Fuck Ronald Reagan.”
“All of the connections to Donald Trump were kind of overwhelming,” explains Steiner, a former copyright lawyer turned artist. “Ronald Reagan was this actor who became a politician, so he came in it at the same angle as Donald Trump. … Reagan used the expression ‘Let’s Make American Great Again,’ and Trump is using the exact same motto for his campaign.”
Housed in the Chelsea-based Joshua Liner Gallery, the group show includes 27 works from 21 artists who capture the intersecting themes of politics, sexuality and celebrity through sexually explicit paintings and abstract sculptures.
Steiner’s two watercolor portraits, “Why I Want to Fuck Donald Trump” and “Why I Want to Fuck Hillary Clinton,” alluded to Ballard’s 1967 statement about “the probability of presidential figures being perceived primarily in genital terms.” Steiner depicted Clinton and Trump as a painted collage of phalluses and vaginas—a raw flesh-colored vulva replaced Trump’s signature hairdo while Clinton sported a knob-bob.
“My work is exceedingly vulgar,” Steiner said. “It is that way because I think there is this undercurrent that goes often largely ignored, and, maybe for the first time ever, has really bubbled to the surface in this campaign.”
His paintings often draw from pop culture icons, such as the Simpsons and SpongeBob, and have been exhibited in more than 20 international group shows since 2006. Throughout his body of work, he reconstructs cartoon characters using genitalia, food or household objects.
Steiner added a backdrop of election paraphernalia to his portraits of Trump and Clinton. Red and blue banners advertising past White House hopefuls, such as Mitt Romney, Ross Perot and John Kerry, clashed with the flesh tones of this year’s candidates.
Politically-themed portraits by artists Tom Sanford, Eric Yahnker and Jonathan Yeo are also on display in the exhibit. Yahnker’s “Hell Yeah!” portrays a lighter side of Hillary Clinton who sticks out a pierced tongue drawn with colored pencil on paper. In “BUSH,” Yeo captures a close-up of George W. Bush’s face composing a series of sexually charged scenes.
Daniel Cordani, an art teacher and artist, said he especially enjoyed Steiner’s portraits and Sanford’s “Trump Mao” and “Clinton Mao,” which refer to China’s former communist leader Mao Zedong. Cordani came to the show to support his friend Andrew Schoultz, who painted an American flag dripping with gold.
“These are violent representations of a violent political system,” Cordani said. “I wish more galleries were doing more representations of this ridiculous charade. … It’s a pretty sad state.”
After viewing the show, Jenny-Rebecca Lewis, a Wall Street lawyer, said that it had helped her gain a “deeper” understanding of the candidates. She was drawn to another Steiner piece: two prints of Trump and Clinton that swapped faces when exposed to the flash of a camera. Steiner embedded retro-reflective dots, a technology that reflects light to reveal a new image masked under the one visible to the naked eye.
“The switch of the candidates allowed me to remember compassion,” said Lewis. “That it’s not one or the other. We’re all interconnected in some way.”
Steiner stressed that he did not intend to curate a “facile anti-Trump show” although 12 of the 27 works in the show directly refer to Trump. He drew on Ballard’s work to address issues with the two-party system along with the conversation about sexuality and celebrity in politics Steiner, who has consistently voted as a Libertarian, said he plans to vote for Gary Johnson.
Unlike the art works containing overt references to unexciting candidates and corrupt politics, Damien Davis wanted to offer viewers a more open-ended, “cerebral” challenge. His abstract sculpture “2016” is meant to be an unapologetic critique of American society: 50 white teeth, 13 brown and black heads and eight vagina-like shapes “float” on a red-and-white Plexiglas plane held together with stainless steel screws.
“My work is really about taking this fixed set of iconography and seeing how much content, how much information or narrative I can generate by juxtaposing elements together,” said Davis, a faculty administrator for NYU’s art department.
The 31-year-old said he wanted “2016” to tell a loose history of the United States and its relationship to slavery and colonialism. His work often focuses on currency—emotional, intellectual and sexual. He explained that the 50 teeth represent slaves whose quality on the auction block was based on their dental health.
But Davis said he did not anticipate how the current political climate would inform his sculpture. “There are vaginas in the work. … Who would’ve known that a video was going to be released of Trump grabbing people by the pussy?” Davis said about sexual assault accusations against Trump. “The most interesting thing about this show is seeing its reading and interpretation play out in this extreme way over a short fixed amount of time.”
For more information and a complete list of artists, visit joshualinergallery.com. The exhibit will be on display until Nov. 12.
Leah Thomas and her father Greg Thomas.
Real-life “American Horror Story” – girl meets boy, girl falls in love; girl realizes boy is a Donald Trump supporter. We have all been exposed to this tragic tale. The obvious next step is to politely terminate the relationship, citing “irreconcilable differences.”
But what if the relationship cannot be terminated? What if the Donald Trump supporter is more than just a boy you met at a bar?
This was the perplexing dilemma I faced when I discovered that the Donald Trump supporter in my life was my father. A lifelong Republican, he claimed he simply could not vote for the opposing party.
So I decided to mount my own personal campaign to convince him to change his mind. I wanted to annihilate his support for Donald Trump.
My first step was to initiate what I referred to as a “Donald-a-Day.” Each weekday morning, my father would awake to his alarm and an email containing one crude Donald Trump quote sent by his lovely liberal daughter (I graciously gave him Saturdays and Sundays off). A quick Google search yielded more quote possibilities than coffee shops in New York City, but a few of the chosen ones included: “I’ve said if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her,” “I have never seen a thin person drinking Diet Coke,” and “Robert Pattinson should not take back Kristen Stewart. She cheated on him like a dog & will do it again—just watch. He can do much better!”
My father’s reaction ranged from confusion, with clarity-seeking responses such as, “What?” to exasperation, which led to his (failed) attempt of recruiting assistance from my mother. She remained Switzerland.
I then began drafting “Policy Pop Quizzes,” consisting of two policies/promises from former presidential candidates and one from Donald Trump, asking my father if he could identify which was The Donald’s.
a) “Government can and must provide opportunity, not smother it; foster productivity, not stifle it. This administration’s objective will be a healthy, vigorous, growing economy.”
b) “A president is neither a prince nor pope, and I don’t seek a window on men’s souls. In fact, I yearn for a greater tolerance, an easy-goingness about each other’s attitudes and way of life.”
c) “Everyone knows I am right that Robert Pattinson should dump Kristen Stewart. In a couple of years, he will thank me. Be smart, Robert.” (Trump’s Twilight fascination was evidently amusing to me).
Following the release of the video of Trump’s infamous “grab her by the pussy” remark, I was disturbed and upset. Unable to understand how Trump supporters were excusing the so-called “locker room talk” with the all-too-familiar “boys will be boys” justification, I wanted to put things into perspective for my father. Tapping into my (mostly nonexistent) artistic side, I took advantage of Photoshop and plopped my face onto that of the woman linking arms with Donald and Billy Bush. Captioning it with, “What if it were me?” I awaited a disgruntled response from my father that never came. He had officially reached the point of ignoring my efforts completely.
My final, Hail Mary attempt required tapping into the deeply rooted emotions of my dad. Cue the guilt trip. This was my closing argument in the case of We the Rational People v. The Potential Demise of America.
I am being told by mom that you are still unsure of who you will be voting for come November. I fully understand that you question Hillary’s honesty. However, as your daughter, I would consider it a personal insult to your wife, your oldest daughter and myself if you were to cast your vote for Donald Trump … If you truly find that you cannot vote for Hillary Clinton, I hope that you will find an alternative route through a third-party candidate or a creative write-in (I recommend Abraham Lincoln or Barack Obama).
Love always, Leah”
Finally, I won. My father ultimately vowed not to cast his Ohio vote for The Donald, but rather, Tito Marcona (former Cleveland Indians player).
It can be difficult to prevent this notably dividing election season from notably dividing you and your loved ones, but with a little genuine enticement, we can work to Make America Sane Again.