Last night, thousands of protesters rallied outside of Senator Chuck Schumer’s Park Slope apartment to demand that the Democratic leader staunchly oppose President Donald Trump’s cabinet picks.
The protest continued despite the Schumer’s announcement on Monday that he plans to vote ‘No’ on Trump’s nominees for Secretary of State, Secretary of Education and Attorney General.
After the news, organizers were “we are heartened but not mollified,” said the group’s Facebook page, demanding “No appeasement, no dealmaking, no collaboration” from the Senate minority leader.
Previously, Schumer has voted in favor of Trump’s nominees for the Department of Defense, Homeland Security, the CIA, and Trump’s selection for United Nations Ambassador.
Crowds gathered at Grand Army Plaza around 6pm to practice chants like “Build a wall? We’ll tear it down! New York is an immigrant town” and hear opening speeches from organizers, union members, and other activists:
“This is a fight for human rights,” shouted a U.S. Marine Corps combat veteran into the megaphone. “Schumer, we will take this fight to the streets. But it’s your job to take this to the senate floor.”
Around 7pm, the throngs (estimates range between 1,000 and 4,000 people) began marching the few blocks to 9 Prospect Park West, complete with a marching orchestra and continuous chanting.
Once outside 9 Prospect Park West, about 50 people hand-delivered cardboard boxing gloves and protein bars to Schumer’s building to encourage the Senator to bulk-up against the “racist and fascist” opposition.
Creative signs and costumes dotted the sea of people gathered near Prospect Park, and while many focused on their demand for Schumer’s votes, others spoke of opposing the ‘Muslim ban’, and the need to resist what protesters called the racism, islamophobia, and fear perpetuated by the Trump administration.
Many people we spoke with had direct messages for Schumer. “We have to put some pressure on him to act like a Democrat and stop selling us out,” said protestor Alison Kinney.
“Schumer has to show a level of leadership that reflects the urgency of the situation,” said Ditmas Park resident Adam Schneit.
“He needs to introduce legislation to reverse the immigration ban, force Trump to resolve his conflicts of interest, and work on getting support from moderate Republicans.”
Others had a broader agenda and came out to show their dissatisfaction with President Trump. “I think this is catastrophic for the people of the world,” said local activist Joan. “Never before has a fascist been elected to government.”
We spoke to one protester who, instead of carrying a slogan, was solemnly waving an American flag.
“This flag stands for inclusiveness. It means every person having a voice,” he said. Shifting his point to the Democratic Senate Minority Leader, he said, “Trying to play nice right now isn’t going to cut it. Republicans have shown they’ll pull out all the stops, and the Democrats need to grow a spine and do it back.”
For others, compassion was the headline message. “This sign is for everyone on earth,” said a young boy named Cassidy. “I want everyone to know that it’s going to be okay.”