Members of the LGBT Community and Others Rally for Solidarity in West Village
On the afternoon of February 4th, thousands of members of the LGBT community along with others gathered in Manhattan to peacefully protest the new presidential administration and President Trump’s recent executive order regarding immigration policy.
Protesters stood in solidarity with those affected by Trump’s travel ban, including the many who were detained at JFK International Airport the previous weekend.
The crowd, which consisted of people of all ages, genders, sexual orientations, and ethnicities, extended as far as Grove Street and West 10th Street. They chanted things like, “No ban, no wall” and “Get up, get down. New York is an immigrant town.”
Colors of the rainbow also defined the crowd that gathered around the historical Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street where the protest was held.
Stonewall, which was declared a National Monument by Barack Obama in 2016, is viewed as the birthplace of the modern LGBT civil rights movement.
After a police raid of the popular bar on June 28th, 1969, LGBT people began to put their passivity aside and become more vocal and assertive in demanding their civil rights.
According to Barack Obama’s presidential proclamation and the National Park Service website, the monument, along with Christopher Park that stretches in front of it, has become a place where the LGBT community can gather to express grief, unity, or joy in their fight towards equal rights and respect.
During this protest in particular, they gathered to express a little bit of each.
Many of the protesters expressed their grief and unhappiness with the current administration and its policies by holding up signs that said things like, “No! Stop Trump/Pence #NoFascistUSA” or “Dump Trump.”
Kristin McGowan, a protester and current resident of New York, said, “He [Trump] is alienating people left and right.”
Daniel Kroop of the Socialist Alternative organization also talked about this on a bigger scale in regards to a protest against Trump in London that same day.
“He [Trump] is saying things that they [the ruling class] do not want the leader of the free world to say,” Kroop said.
Diana Alsip, a native of Arizona but current resident of New York, reinforced what others said by calling for political action.
She said that because many people are not happy with the current cabinet and policies that have targeted other minority groups such as immigrants and refugees, the American people need to vote and take action beyond social media platforms.
Besides resistance to the Trump administration and calls for political reformation, love and unity were also common themes of the protest.
In addition to voicing her opinion, McGowan, who is a former volunteer for the Clinton campaign, was also selling “Love Trumps Hate” pins. She said that she enjoys selling her pins to reach out to people all around the country and world. She even said that one of her past customers would send the pin to a friend he has in Mexico to put on the border wall.
Like Kristin, many protesters shined their own light and love through the cracks of resistance with smiles, hugs, and cheering. There were no counter-protests in sight.
According to the New York City Police Department, security put down barricades and guarded the streets of the West Village as early as 9am. They said that they would most likely be there until 7pm, five hours after the official start time of the protest.
According to Fox News, the travel ban is being revised and will be reinstated later this week.
However, resistance has still prevailed across the country and the rest of the world with more protests and rallies being held like the “Not My President’s Day” one on February 20th.