On November 21 at Cooper Union, New York’s mayor, Bill de Blasio addressed a multi-cultural crowd of New Yorkers. In a blatant challenge to the President-elect’s vitriolic minority-attacking policies, Mayor Blasio said that his government would stand against all, which included racial profiling and concentrated surveillance of any religious community, particularly the Muslim community.
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If you visit Blasio’s Twitter page, this is what his bio reads: “Mayor. Fighting for a better and fairer New York City, no matter how much money you make or where you live.”
Throughout Trump’s political campaign, he has vociferously voiced his anti-immigrant views. Last year, he called for a “total and complete shutdown” of the country’s borders for Muslims, banning them from entering the United States.
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When Trump was voted into power however, many New Yorkers took to the streets, protesting against the electoral decision which had divided the country apart. They took the protest platform to voice their fears against the conservative, regressive, xenophobic government Trump stood to represent. In response to the fears of the New Yorkers, Mayor Bill de Blasio stepped up. At Cooper Union, he addressed New York in a stirring, reassuring speech, saying, “We will use all the tools at our disposal to stand up for our people. If all Muslims are required to register, we will take legal action to block it. If the federal government wants our police officers to tear immigrant families apart, we will refuse to do it.” He added that if the federal government decided to re-introduce Stop-and-Frisk (a law that was previously known to have brought about racial profiling), his government would not allow it. He also voiced his support for women who felt their rights were under threat and promised to safeguard the healthcare of American women. It was a speech that was a direct attack against Trump – the anti-establishment behemoth who rose to power primarily by using anti-immigrant rhetoric as his campaign’s backbone.
Cooper Union is a site of historic significance where the 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln spoke against slavery in 1860. Blasio’s speech is a strong indicator of a possible and focused protest by the state against the future federal government. New York is a thriving cultural caldron, co-inhabited by people belonging to diverse cultures, origins, races and religions. Trump’s administration is at the precipice of robbing the very essence of what New York stands for. “If Jews or Muslims or members of the LGBT community, or any community, are victimized and attacked, we will find their attackers. We will arrest them. We will prosecute them. This is New York. Nothing about who we are changed on Election Day. We are Always New York,” Blasio ended his speech.