Tamar Smith and her family joined thousands across the country taking to the streets to stand up for human and civil rights and the environment. Photo by David F. Brand
Thousands of people marched to Trump Tower in New York City on Sunday afternoon, taking part in nationwide demonstrations that have arisen in the wake of Donald Trump’s election to the presidency.
“We are not going to wait to make our voices heard because [Trump] is not going to wait,” said Tamar Smith, a Brooklyn resident who attended the event with her daughter and niece.
“It is important to share our opposition to his ideas and to support immigrants who are a target of his. Not only do we put Trump on notice, but we are letting the rest of the world know that we are not going along with this silently.”
Initially planned as a demonstration in support of immigrants, whom Trump vilified and scapegoated throughout his campaign, attendees carried signs and shouted slogans recognizing the rights of Latinos, Muslims, African-Americans, women, and other marginalized groups.
Carrie Cantor of Montclair, New Jersey, said she worries Trump, who has tweeted that “the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese,” will hasten global warming and dismantle Obamacare, which she said has allowed her to access affordable health insurance. She added:
“I don’t dispute our electoral process, but I’m also not willing to go quietly and not express my disgust.” Trump should know that he didn’t get any mandate. Nobody is saying that he shouldn’t be allowed to be president. We’re protesting him and his policies and protesting is as American as apple pie.”
In response to a Trump tweet blaming “professional protestors” for the surge of demonstrations, several marchers held cardboard signs identifying themselves as “amateur protesters” or “unpaid protesters.”
“Nothing strengthens authority as much as silence,” read another sign. Scores of children carried their own colorful, hand-drawn messages in Spanish and English.
Demonstrators said they were heartened by the post-election fervor and will continue to hold Trump and his enablers accountable.
"With this incredible energy, it's possible for this to be a transformational event," Cantor said. "Occupy Wall Street, Blacks Lives Matter—it feels like there's a framework and experience [for future organizing]."
“Protesting is a way for us to get together and gather strength from one another,” said Smith. “We are strengthening, fighting and making connections that will allow us to move forward.”
Many demonstrators said they represent the majority of the country, those who helped Hillary Clinton receive nearly two million more votes than Trump nationally, though not enough for her to carry the states needed to win. Four million people have signed an online petition calling on electors in the Electoral College to cast ballots for Clinton rather than Trump.
Francisco Ortiz, an immigrant from Panama who lives in Brooklyn, said he developed respiratory and mental health issues after cleaning debris from Ground Zero after the 9/11 terrorist attack. He peered up at the Trump International Hotel and Tower and seemed to address the President-elect.
“Fight for your people,” Ortiz said. “Don’t attack them. We need a President who sets an example, especially for young people.”
David F. Brand is a writer and social worker based in Brooklyn, New York. A version of this story also ran in the Indypendent.