On Tuesday, August 15 the Queens County Young Democrats’ (QCYD) Caucus of Color hosted a rally against hate and bigotry. The rally was in response to the recent events in Charlottesville VA at which one person was killed. The Charlottesville rally was organized by White Nationalist.
The rally was the brainchild of one of QCYD’s newest members, Kemar Newman. A member of QCYD for just two months, the young immigrant and veteran was affected by the events in Charlottesville. With two young daughters, Kemar was fearful of the country they would inherit. It motivated him to take the initiative to gather individuals together in a show of unity.
“You are the change,” he said.
The rally was held at Rufus King Park under an overcast sky. It set a somber tone and reflected the sadness of the fatal conclusion to the rally.
Protestors unwittingly gathered in a circle while listening to elected officials in attendance at the event speak out against the violence. At the end of the event, protestors held hands forming a circle for an ending prayer.
It was a multicultural gathering of mostly young individuals. The low turnout was in sharp contrast to the widespread opposition to the events in Charlottesville.
While elected officials gathered for the event condemned the actions in Charlottesville there was more of a focused on the positive.
“The war has just begun,” said Senator James Sanders, Jr. during his turn at the podium. “The worst is yet to come…We all need to get in shape. Take these folks seriously.” The Senator was speaking about how heavily outfitted the White Nationalists group was in Charlottesville highlighting its intent and preparedness.
“We know how to live together…We’ve demonstrated how to love each other,” said Council Member I Daneek Miller referring to Queens’ diversity. “We are going to stand for all our citizens.”
The rally ended on a fiery note with remarks from Amir Abbady, QCYD VP of diversity and outreach. Amir believed that the Democratic Party had “another year” to get it right.
“We should create a government that represents us all. We are diverse Americans and we all deserve a seat at the table,” he passionately exclaimed.
The city of Charlottesville became a scene of violence as white nationalists, many with confederate flags and in Nazi gear and apparel, clashed with counter protesters. The rally included racial taunting, violent physical exchanges and brawls. The Governor declared a state of emergency and the National Guard had to clear the protest area.
As the rally was dispersing, a car plowed into the crowd killing a woman and injuring more than 30 individuals. Footage showed the driver accelerating into the crowd and quickly retreating.
President Donald Trump refused to denounce the white nationalist hate groups at the center of the protest, choosing instead to blame the violence in Charlottesville on “both sides”. Police were viewed as acting minimally toward protest participants. This is in sharp contrast to their aggressive stance at Black Lives Matter demonstrations.
Two days after the clash, the President gave a carefully delivered condemnation of the Ku Klux Klan and neo Nazi groups. He reverted back to blaming both sides a day later. He criticized “alt-left” groups that he claimed were very violent when confronting the white nationalists groups that gathered in Charlottesville.
“You had a group on one side that was bad. You had a group on the other side that was also very violent. Nobody wants to say that. I’ll say it right now,” said President Trump in a Press Conference several days after the event.