New Yorkers determined to resist President Donald Trump’s ban on travelers from seven Muslim-majority nations rallied outside the West Village’s Stonewall National Monument on Saturday afternoon.
Organizers started with a ’60s song, “What the World Needs Now Is Love.”
A chant came next: “We need a leader, not a creepy tweeter.”
About 8,000 protesters — many representing the LGBT community — stressed America welcomes new arrivals and will not allow hatred and intolerance to flourish. “Muslim rights are human rights,” they chanted, and “Let’s impeach Trump.”
“I want to maintain my rights and liberties, and I want to maintain the liberties and rights of others,” said Ed Razzano, 48, of Manhattan.
Demetrius Alston, 33, of Queens, agreed: “I’m a human being who believes in equal rights and I’m supporting all people to have equal rights.”
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, one of dozens who spoke, flanked by the U.S. flag and a rainbow flag, said she now knows what Trump meant when he talked as a candidate about “taking America back.”
“What an experience to see the thousands of New Yorkers who reject hate,” she said, promising no return to back-alley abortions and “government-sanctioned discrimination.”
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) reminded the crowd the original Stonewall protesters never gave up, saying: “We have a lot of fights. We are going to win them all.”
The U.S. Supreme Court will not take the country back decades, and Congress will keep the Affordable Care Act and reject Trump’s pick for education secretary, he said.
“The Stonewall rally is truly a testament to the character of NY & what we stand for. You can count on New York’s pursuit of progress,” Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo wrote in a Saturday tweet. “#lgbt solidarity at Stonewall this afternoon. Let us be clear: we will do everything in our power to protect New Yorkers from discrimination.”
City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, former Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Comptroller Scott Stringer, along with other members of the city council and State Legislature, all assured the crowd this fight was theirs, too. A member of the city’s Human Rights Commission represented Mayor Bill De Blasio.
State Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) urged protesters to prevent presidential candidates from not releasing their tax returns by supporting the Tax Returns Uniformly Made Public Act, which is pending in Albany.
Cynthia Nixon, best known for her role in the television show “Sex and the City,” and Omar Sharif Jr., son of the Egyptian movie star, who both are gay, addressed the crowd.
Nixon, referring to Muslims, said, “We are allies in our otherness.”
Sharif, who fled Egypt after receiving death threats when he came out, said refugees did not run to the United States “with malice in their hearts” but for the promise of the stars and stripes.
Last June, The Stonewall Inn was formally dedicated as the first national monument to gay rights. A 7.7-acre area that includes the inn and nearby Christopher Park was added to the list of national monuments commemorating civil rights movements in places such as upstate Seneca Falls, site of the first women’s rights convention.