Hundreds March to Create Hate Free Zone in Queens

USE HALLUM queens anti-hate.JPG Nearly 1,000 turned out on December 2 to declare a hate-free zone in Queens. | MARK HALLUM

USE HALLUM queens anti-hate.JPGNearly 1,000 turned out on December 2 to declare a hate-free zone in Queens. | MARK HALLUM

BY MARK HALLUM | Neighborhood organizations and immigrant groups turned out with banners and signs on December 2 to declare a hate-free zone in Queens.

The march began at Diversity Plaza in Jackson Heights and ended in Corona. Nearly 1,000 people were involved in the demonstration against the backlash immigrant, ethnic, and LGBTQ communities may face with a Trump administration in the White House.

LGBTQ, Muslim, Jewish, Latino, South Asian, Asian, and black organizations were present at the opening news conference led by Ana Liza Caballes, deputy director for Desis Rising Up and Moving, a South Asian group dedicated to helping low-wage immigrants through social and policy change. Out gay Jackson Heights City Councilmember Daniel Dromm delivered remarks expressing solidarity with the protesters.

Councilmember Daniel Dromm. | MARK HALLUM

Councilmember Daniel Dromm. | MARK HALLUM

“I feel that we here, the people who came to this rally tonight, have something to show the rest of America, which is that we can all live together in peace and harmony,” Dromm said. “We all will stand united in this battle. And I must say, that as the councilmember in this district, I will do everything in my power to resist the Islamophobic, the homophobic, the misogynistic policies and agenda of the Trump administration.”

Dromm added that he and other members of the City Council were meeting to discuss ways to mobilize against policies that President-elect Donald Trump may be looking to enact.

Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. from the Justice Committee, an organization dedicated to stopping police violence and systemic racism, was at the rally to push for solidarity between the different groups regardless of who is in office at all levels of government.

Jewish Voice for Peace is campaigning against Steve Bannon being tapped as chief White House strategist for the Trump administration because of his Islamophobic views and to confront what that group views as not only a fascist regime, but a crisis situation for Jews and Muslims. Bannon is a founding member of Breitbart News, a news website that has proudly embraced the mantle of “alt-right.”

“We think it’s our responsibility to stand and support Muslims, people of color, people who are vulnerable,” said Rosalind Petchesky, a former political science professor at Hunter College and Jewish Voice for Peace leader. “We think the threat of anti-Semitism is being used to deflect from the rampant Islamophobia. At the same time, anti-Semitism is real… Breitbart, we know, is anti-Semitic.”