Trump is unwelcomed in the Hudson Valley

May 4, 2016

Marc Pessin reports on a protest against presidential candidate Donald Trump and his bigoted message organized by activists in New York's Hudson Valley.

CHANTING "RACIST, sexist, anti-gay, Donald Trump go away!" some 200 demonstrators marched to the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, New York, on April 17 to protest an appearance by the Republican presidential candidate.

Organizers of the counterprotest included Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson, the Black Lives Matter Coalition of Poughkeepsie and the International Socialist Organization. Other participants were End the New Jim Crow Action Network, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at Vassar College and Dreamers With No Borders, along with Vassar and New Paltz students and community members.

The event began with a rally in Hulme Park, featuring several speakers from groups that helped organize the protest.

"We are here because we want freedom, and we shouldn't feel the way we feel right now with everything Trump is doing," Laura, a member of the Dreamers With No Borders, told the crowd. "So I thank you for standing with us in solidarity, and allowing us to feel comfortable and not afraid."

Hudson Valley protesters stand up against Trump
Hudson Valley protesters stand up against Trump (Dreamers With No Borders)

Rose, an SJP member at Vassar, said, "I'm here because I don't want to stand back when Trump is profiting off of racism and bigotry."

Several speakers pointed out that the local Dutchess County Sheriff Butch Anderson is a Trump supporter and was recently named an honorary co-chair of Trump's presidential campaign in New York state.

"I'm here to stand up against Trump and his message of bigotry, violence and hate, and also to bring attention to the fact that our local sheriff has supported him," said Derek from the End the New Jim Crow Action Network. "He has pushed for the vast expansion of the Dutchess County jail. We need to ask, 'Why does he support a white supremacist?'"

Natalie from the Hudson Valley Black Lives Matter Coalition said, "I stand against the racism, xenophobia and homophobia that Trump stands for. The people of color in this city need to take a stand because we don't feel safe here. We're looking for the people of Dutchess County to realize that the head of the sheriff's department is a direct supporter of Trump, and there is so much work to be done in the realm of black lives matter."

After the rally, protesters marched to the Civic Center. Despite the fact that the sheriff didn't want protesters to take to the streets, they did, chanting, "Whose streets? Our streets!"

At the Civil Center, anti-Trump protesters gathered across the street from his supporters who were lined up to get in. The police were also out in full force, with jeeps and drones.

Activists came away from this action proud that we stood our ground and that the Hudson Valley is part of the nationwide actions to confront Trump and what he stands for any where he goes.

"It's taken us so long to get to where we are today," said Lisseth, a member of Dreamers With No Borders. "We've overcome so much in the realm of racism and women's rights, and we can't have some bigot ruining the work that we've done."

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