Hundreds of immigrants, elected officials and other activists marched through midtown in the rain Sunday to send Donald Trump a message about his controversial stances on foreigners.
“What do we do when our rights are under attack? Stand up, Fight back,” the protesters chanted as they marched from Dag Hammarskjold Plaza to Trump Tower.
The crowd took up the entire right lane on 5th Avenue between 56th and 55th Streets and were peaceful to the crowds of shoppers and motorists who passed by. They gathered to recognize “International Migrant’s Day,” and said they are galvanized to stop the administration’s proposals such as a Muslim registry, increased deportations and denial of refugees.
Steven Choi, the executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, which organized the rally, said the city and country have benefitted from the hard work of its immigrant population.
“We are better because of our immigrant communities and we are here to send this message,” he said to the crowd.
“It’s important because even though he is elected, we want to show not everyone is on board,” said Hansol Lee, 25, who immigrated to Jackson Heights from South Korea six years ago.
Nonimmigrant New Yorkers who attended the event said they needed step up against anti-immigration rhetoric and policies. Emily Kohl-Mattingley, 26, of Red Hook, said apathy only makes it worse for everyone.
“If you stand by silently you are still part of the oppression and the problem,” she said.
City elected officials, like City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Public Advocate Letitia James, vowed to defend immigrants from any policy that undermines their basic rights.
“We are here to reaffirm that we are not afraid,” the council speaker said.