NEW YORK ― America refuses to move backward.
That was the message from thousands of LGBTQ supporters who took to New York City streets Saturday afternoon to protest President Donald Trump’s now-blocked travel ban, immigration policies and other “illegal, immoral, unconstitutional and un-American” executive orders, according to the event’s Facebook page. Trump’s travel ban was temporarily halted by a federal judge Friday.
The protest, sponsored by more than a dozen advocacy groups and local politicians, was held outside the historic Stonewall Inn in Manhattan’s West Village neighborhood, the symbolic heart of the LGBTQ rights movement.
Other protests to “Resist Trump” were scheduled across the country through the weekend. Demonstrations were planned in cities that include Denver, Houston and Buffalo, New York.
Marie Carianna, a 57-year-old lesbian at the New York demonstration, told HuffPost she has spent her life fighting for the rights of the LGBTQ community. She said she won’t stop now.
“Whether we’re straight, gay, immigrant, Native American ― no matter who you are, we’re all standing up to fascists,” Carianna said.
So what will the next four years look like for Carianna under a Trump presidency?
“A hell of a lot more alcohol,” she said. “The fact is, it means I’m going to be on the streets, fighting. The idea that we are going to be handing to our kids a lack of rights that we already fought for decades ago ― it’ll be over my dead body.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) rallied the crowd with a message of moving forward, leading a chant of “Dump Trump” even as some booed him.
“We are going to do everything to ensure that the Supreme Court does not turn the clock back to the 1960s or the 1920s,” Schumer said. “We are going to fight.”
Many protestors chanted, “We are watching you” at Schumer, likely referring to recent complaints that the senator hadn’t done enough to stop Trump’s picks for the new administration.
New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer said he was starting to lose his voice from all the protesting, but that it wouldn’t stop him from shouting. He thanked protestors for braving the cold.
“I have never been so cold, but so fired up in my life!” Stringer told the crowd.
Stringer warned Trump that history will not look kindly on him.
“He’s not going to have a party by the time we’re done with him,” Stringer said. “They’re not going to have majority Congress and majority Senate. It’s all going down, Donald, and it’s happening right now.”
The Stonewall Inn’s legacy began June 28, 1969, when hundreds in the LGBTQ community fought back against police attempting to arrest them. At the time, homosexuality was illegal, and Stonewall patrons had been routinely harassed by cops. It is credited with being the birthplace of the modern gay rights movement.
On June 27, 2016 ― more than 40 years after the Stonewall riots ― the site was declared a national monument by President Barack Obama. The monument protects more than seven acres of land in Greenwich Village, including Christopher Park, the inn, and surrounding streets and sidewalks.
More recently, thousands showed up at the inn to honor those killed at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub last summer. LGBTQ people were specifically targeted at the club in what became the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.