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Politics & Government

Hundreds gather for Bay Ridge March Against Hate

In response to President-elect Donald Trump’s upcoming inauguration, hundreds of Brooklynites of all races, genders and ages gathered in Bay Ridge to participate in the Martin Luther King Day March Against Hate on Monday, January 16.

At 1 p.m., hundreds of attendees, many with signs that quoted King, gathered outside the Islamic Society of Bay Ridge, 6807 Fifth Avenue, to show their solidarity with Muslims, immigrants, women, people of color, people with disabilities, and others they believe to be threatened by the incoming Trump administration.

“I used to teach at I.S. 30 and now I teach at P.S. 503. Nobody is going kick my students out,” said Julia G. “I love them and I’m here to support them. It feels really good, especially on a day like today. Nobody is going to take that dream away.”

“We organized a similar event a year ago when the Arab-American community was facing incidents of hate in the neighborhood and we are very glad to do that again and make it a regular part of our interactions,” said David Farley, co-organizer of the event for Bay Ridge for Social Justice. “We are very glad to stand in support of our Arab-American neighbors, especially through these struggling times. Today means a lot, especially with the rhetoric leading up to the election, and then the continued rhetoric. It’s very disturbing that it’s being normalized.”

Even children were happy to show support. “(My daughter) knows that it’s important to love everybody despite their differences,” said Rupsha of her daughter, six-year-old Doria Sharif.

“We wanted to come and make sure to stand with Muslim neighbors, brothers and sisters and make sure they know we are there for them and we won’t stand for this kind of hate,” added Rovika Rajkishun of the group Love Trumps Hate Sunset Park.

Assemblymember Pam Harris also marched and discussed the significance of the day. “Dr. Martin Luther King had a dream that we all are created equal,” she told this paper. “Today of all days is perfect for Bay Ridge and Muslims, Jews, Catholics and African-Americans of the community to come together and embrace this day as a day of peace. It’s not about hatred. It’s about coming together and living among each other.”

Once the march ended, attendees entered the Salam Arabic Lutheran Church, 414 80th Street, where several speakers expressed their concerns, including Linda Sarsour, executive director of the Arab American Association of New York and one of  four national co-chairs for the women’s march on Washington D.C. on Saturday, January 21.

“I’m very proud as a Brooklynite,  a daughter born and raised here as a neighbor in Bay Ridge, to represent the values and principles and convictions that we have, like compassion, justice and unity,” she said. “I will not respect a president who won the election on the backs of Muslims, black people, the undocumented, women and reproductive rights. I will not respect an administration full of Islamophobics that have called the religion that I follow a malignant cancer.”

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