Jackson Heights March in Defense of Immigrants

  • Hundreds gathered at Diversity Plaza in Jackson Heights to form a “hate-free zone.” (Photos by Anuz Thapa for Voices of NY)

[Hundreds recently gathered to establish a community defense and “Hate-Free Zone” at Diversity Plaza in Queens. Attendees, including local residents, and activists from Muslim, LGBTQ, Latino and immigrant communities, marched from the square in Jackson Heights to Corona Plaza, shouting slogans like “Here to Stay, Here to Fight,” “Love Trumps Hate,” and “Migrant Rights=Human Rights.” They stood together against the recent spike in hate attacks across the county and condemned those acts. See photos above by Anuz Thapa of the event.

Find below a translation of a story on the rally, originally published in Spanish by Javier Castaño of Queens Latino.]

Roosevelt Avenue was the epicenter of a march attended by over 1,000 people protesting Donald Trump, who will take office as president of the United States on Jan. 20, 2017. “We are here standing against racism, sexism, discrimination and attacks against minorities in this nation,” shouted organizers and participants.

Their goal: to create a hate-free zone.

The march took place on Friday, Dec. 2, starting at Diversity Plaza, on 74th Street in Jackson Heights, where the demonstrators walked through the Roosevelt Avenue platform toward 61st Street and then back up to Corona Plaza on 103rd Street.

The demonstration was mainly organized by Desis Rising Up & Moving (DRUM), a group that protects the interests of South Asian immigrant workers. More than 20 other community associations joined the protest, including Latino groups Make the Road New York and NICE.

“I am undocumented, and I don’t know if I will be able to sit down for dinner with my family one more time because we could be deported,” said Poonam Dass, from DRUM.

The organizers said that they are the symbol of the resistance and that they are fighting discrimination by protecting programs such as DACA.

Chelo Silva, from the Queer Detainee Empowerment Project, said that she had been “discriminated against and detained, and I developed a urinary tract infection in jail.”

Margot Rivera, from Make the Road New York, said that she is a transgender person from Mexico and that she fights to “rid the neighborhoods of Jackson Heights and Corona of hate.”

Deb Lolai, from the Jews for Racial and Economic Justice organization, said that “we are working to fight racism against Arabs, against militarization and against anti-Semitism.”

Lydia Catina Amaya, an organizer with the Damayan Workers Association, added that she had been a victim of human trafficking and that “our voices will not be silenced again.”

Simone Jhingoor, from Jahajee Sisters, said that she was present at the march to contribute to the development of Indo-Caribbean women. “We will protect each other the way we have always done,” said Jhingoor.

Iman Boukadoum, from Interfaith Center of New York, said that “we face challenging times and we are being discriminated against every day.”

The only politician who took part in the rally was Council member Daniel Dromm, who said that he adhered himself to the struggle in favor of immigrants because “despite our differences, we can live in solidarity.”

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