Three days after Donald Trump was elected president, community groups and elected officials organized a Unity Rally to ease the fears of the large immigrant community in Jackson Heights.
Councilman Daniel Dromm, Assemblyman Ron Kim, members of Friends of Diversity Plaza and Jackson Heights residents gathered at Diversity Plaza at 37th Road and 73rd Street where the main message of the night was “diversity trumps hate.”
“Thank you Jackson Heights for showing up today,” said Shekar Krishnan, a member of Friends of Diversity Plaza. “What we have shown here is 100 percent the unity in our diversity as a community.”
Erin and Kriton Dolias, Jackson Heights residents, attended the rally with their 5-month-old daughter, Melina.
“We’re not happy with the election results on Tuesday and just decided to come out and show our support for Hillary and for everyone around here,” Kriton Dolias said. “There are probably a lot of people around here worried about who’s going to be in office in January.”
Erin Dolias said she attended the rally because she is concerned about her daughter’s future.
“We’re worried about the world that’s going to exist for her and it doesn’t feel like there is much you can do at the moment but it feels like the only thing we can do is show our support and hope that people all over the country are doing the same thing,” she said.
There were short performances by musicians in the community, including Queens-born rapper Heems, who is in a rap group called Swet Shop Boyz. The duo, consisting of Heems and Riz Ahmed, the lead actor on the HBO show “The Night Of,” recently released an album that explored race and the racism they face as men of Indian and Pakistani descent.
Dromm said he organized this rally because he needed “to be amongst people who feel the way that I feel, who understand the feeling that I had on Wednesday morning when I woke up and thought I was in a nightmare.”
He said Trump’s election was “frightening” and saw many worried faces as he walked to his office on Wednesday. Dromm added that last April he visited P.S. 222 and that principal Yvonne Marrero announced through loud speakers that Councilman Daniel Dromm would pay students a visit.
“A couple of minutes later, a little boy said, ‘Ms. Marrero, Ms. Marrero, come to the class because a little girl in the second grade is crying and we can’t get her to stop,'” Dromm said. “The little girl mistakenly heard Daniel Dromm as Donald Trump. She was afraid she was going to be deported.”
“We will fight. We will stand up to the beliefs of Donald Trump. We will say ‘no’ to Donald Trump’s beliefs,” he added. “We will urge all of our elected officials to put in the path every obstacle humanely possible to prevent him from implementing any of his terrible programs.”
Nick Gulotta, the Queens borough director of community affairs for Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office, said that President-elect Donald Trump would not take away services that have been implemented in the city. He also added that stop-and-frisk would never again be practiced by the NYPD.
“On behalf of Mayor de Blasio and the entire administration, I want to reassure you that we are going to fight in every single way that we know how to protect our sisters and brothers regardless of their immigration status,” Gulotta said. “No matter who the next president is, they can’t take away from us universal pre-K; they can’t take away paid sick leave; they can’t take away paid parental leave; they can’t take away the progress that we’ve made.”