T-R-U-M-P Place No More

By Breya Johnston

New York, New York. You got to love it, but you don’t have to love the man in charge. Thousands gathered September 9th at Trump Place, a high-rise building at 200 Riverside Blvd. on the Upper West Side to witness city workers scrape off his name, letter by letter, from another building. A New York judge ruled that the building residents could remove the Trump name from the façade in May.

A few protesters shouted “Yes take it down, take them all down!” and “Disgrace.” Hakeem Taylor said removing the name was a start. “It is not enough of a punishment, but it is satisfying win for us right now.” Protesters held signs that read “Resist,” “Fight Back,” “This is our revenge,” “This is no longer your home, we don’t want you here,” and “How do you sleep at night!?”

Some in the crowd were protesting Trump’s immigration stance. Hundreds of activists had gathered in New York City the day before to protest the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy that has led to the separation of migrant children from their parents at the southern border. The group was calling for a clear plan to reunite families.

“I believe we are at the point in which we need to stop feeding the rich a luxurious dinner while our children are crying for their mothers,” said Arthan Mathews, 42. “This is why we are here to witness something precious being taken away from him because this incompetent man with his unreasonable senseless actions deserves what he gets.”

Ana Daniels, 23, a full-time student at Borough of Manhattan Community College said she was worried for her loved ones. “I have been feeling hopeless and afraid and distraught about the state of affairs in our country. I have family here who I am now afraid to lose if they do not get their citizenship in time.”

Her fellow Bronx resident Aileen Hernandez, 34, had similar motives for coming. “I’m disappointed with Trump’s approach towards immigration, specifically the ‘zero-tolerance’ policy, because I do not understand how they think breaking apart families, specifically children from their parents, is the answer. That is why watching his towers lose his name is very satisfying to witness right now.”

In 2018, thousands of children have been taken from their families under the policy and transported across the nation, at times thousands of miles away from their detained parents. Some of the children have been sent to foster care agencies in New York City.

“We are here today to protest the unfairness of our children being separated from their families,” said Jennifer Guzman, who was there with her daughter, Karen, who immigrated to the United States from Mexico in 2009. “This is utterly and morally wrong. You come to America to escape the violence and hunger to try to make a better life. You think this is the land of hope and opportunity, but when you get here there is neither hope nor freedom.”

The crowd of activists seemed to be getting bigger and bigger as time went on. Even people who were just standing around Riverside Blvd. stopped to hear why people were chanting so loudly.

Several people were shouting, “Children don’t belong in jail!”

“There are so many other simple solutions I can think of that do not involve putting children behind bars like criminals,” said Tammy Guevara, a resident of 72nd Street. “We could actually have more programs that would allow individuals to come into this country to apply for citizenship right way, that does not require taking babies away from parents.”

The protesters said they want more transparency on what happens to children separated from their parents. They said that the Trump’s administrative order to reunite families is not enough, and it does not even begin to get to the root of the problem.

“There are thousands of us across the country that are moved by accounts of children being separated from their parents at the U.S-Mexico border,” said Diamond Rodriquez. “Calls for elimination of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency are only growing louder and louder each time we rally together like this.”

One protester’s sign asked, “Do you know where our children are?” To which another responded, “Well we don’t know where your name plaque on your buildings are either.”

ASA College student Sharde Davis, 24, said, “This is how we ruin how he lives. We’re hoping to re-send a message, in case people forgot, that Donald Trump is not welcome here and never will be.”

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