Thousands More Turn Out Sunday in Columbus Circle
BY ANDY HUMM | A day after a massive march up Fifth Avenue from Union Square, more than 15,000 people marched from the Trump International Hotel in Columbus Circle to Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue and back on Sunday in a multicultural display of support for vulnerable immigrants scapegoated by President-elect Donald Trump during his campaign.
In response to the Electoral College victor who still wants to build a wall on the Mexican border – though he now says some of it might be just a “fence” – protesters chanted, “No more hate! No more fear! Immigrants are welcome here!”
The march was led by Make the Road, which works with new immigrants across the city. But it was joined by legions of advocates for the rights of women, LGBT people, the environment, civil rights, and more. And after a week that left most New Yorkers in shock, the diverse, determined, and dedicated gathering had an unmistakably healing vibe to it.
Carlos Menchaca, an out gay Brooklyn city councilmember, led neighbors from his Sunset Park district in the march.
“We are filling our hearts with the love and courage we are going to need for the long game against this administration,” Menchaca said. “First we need to clean house in our own city and our own party.”
Dr. Wilhelmina Perry of LGBT Faith Leaders of African Descent said, “We won’t let our country be taken backward.”
Mark Milano, a veteran of ACT UP and long-term survivor of HIV, said, “I just got back from having a brain scan!” But he was out there in a crowd that ranged in age from toddlers in strollers to strolling couples in their 80s.
One child’s sign said, “I’m not giving up and neither should you,” echoing the message from Kate McKinnon on this week’s “Saturday Night Live,” who opened that show as Hillary Clinton playing piano and singing “Hallelujah,” by singer and songwriter Leonard Cohen, who died late last week.
One sign that seemed particularly resonant read, “TOO MUCH TO WRITE.”
“People say, ‘What’s the point? He won,’” Milano said. “But we are sending a huge message that a huge part of America does not agree with his positions. We have to resist. I have changed my Facebook profile to ‘Silence = Death’ because it applies now more than ever.”
On “60 Minutes” that same day, Trump tried to soft-pedal his opposition to same-sex marriage, telling Lesley Stahl the matter is “settled law” and “I’m fine with that.” Yet during the campaign, he presented a list of 20 right-wing judges he would choose from to fill Supreme Court vacancies and made the specific pledge that they would overturn Roe v. Wade and revisit last year’s marriage ruling. In that interview, Trump reiterated his opposition to reproductive choice.
The president-elect’s efforts to soften his posture on at least some issues in recent days was countered on Sunday with his announcement that Steve Bannon, his campaign CEO who has recently run the alt-right website Breitbart News, would be his chief White House strategist and senior counselor.