The activist who interrupted Donald Trump’s acceptance speech at Thursday night’s Republican National Convention was born and raised in Freeport.
Madea Benjamin, co-founder of the anti-war activist group “Code Pink,” was escorted from the Quicken Loans Arena Thursday night, after she protested the Republican presidential nominee’s speech by raising a bright pink banner that read “Build Bridges, Not Walls.”
In a phone interview with Newsday after she was removed from the arena, Benjamin said, the group was determined to interrupt his speech because “we feel Donald Trump is raising the level of hatred minute by minute in this country.”
“We’re a women-led peace group and we’ve been horrified by Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric, his anti-Muslim sentiment,” Benjamin said.
Hours before the start of the convention, Benjamin issued a plea on Twitter asking for a pass to enter the event, and she said she was able to find a willing donor, who she declined to name.
After she was removed from the arena, Benjamin said she was questioned by Secret Service officials for about 20 minutes, mainly to ensure she didn’t pose a threat to Trump’s safety. She said she was not issued any summonses or fines.
Benjamin said she got her start in activism as a 15-year-old Freeport High School student who opposed the Vietnam War because her sister’s boyfriend had been drafted.
“I was 15 years old, I’m 64 now, I’ve been doing this for a long time,” said Benjamin, who now lives in the Washington, D.C. area.