July 4, 2017 – NOON- Fifth Floor Atrium- #TakeTrumpTower
“We Will Not Be Banned: The broken promise of equal justice” Hosted by CAIR-New York
“CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.”
Speakers and partners included NY Day of Remembrance Committee, Jewish social justice contingent (Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, Jews Say No!, Jewish Voice for Peace) NY Civil Liberties Union, LatinoJustice, and T’ruah.
On July 4th, 2017 (Noon) CAIR-NY sponsored a presser; a Muslim-led teach-in and rally in the Fifth Floor Atrium- a public space – in what they described as the “hideous” Trump Tower. (though later they chanted “Whose tower, OUR Tower”)
They claim, the purpose of the presser was to highlight how the United States has repeatedly broken her founding promises and (they claim) targeted groups on the basis of race, religion, or ideology.
The speakers insisted their communities have historically been targeted – from the U.S.’s internment of Americans of Japanese descent, to U.S.’s treatment of Puerto Rico, to President Trump’s Muslim Ban. So, CAIR-NY and their (social justice) partners used this day to reaffirm their commitment to that most “basic American tenet, “ALL are created equal“.
America’s 241st Independence Day, was marred by these protestors who claimed that President Trump stands in a long line of American leaders who sought political power by marginalizing and demonizing minority groups.
AS NOON approached, I arrived – looking for protestors.
11:55 I see barricades but no protestors; just empty pens. Odd. Then I saw ONE – no two – women in front of the doors to the tower.
That, too, was odd; verboten, actually, since a previous Trump Tower protest (on Aug 31, 2016) that BLOCKED entry to the Tower created more crowd control at the entrance.
Guess things have relaxed with time. And THEN I remembered, there is a Fifth Floor Public Space in the Tower.
” … part of an agreement Trump made in the 1970s […] an agreement in which a developer receives special permissions from the city in exchange for the inclusion … of spaces open to the general public.“
The Lefties have protested there previously, testing the “public space right-to-assemble.” SO, once I actually READ the sign the women were holding, DIRECTIONS to the Fifth Floor Presser, I headed inside.
Went through security, bags, camera screened. Rode the elevator to the Fifth Floor with the Fox5 cameraman AND the very friendly, Albert Fox Cahn, CAIR–NY’s Legal Director! Then, VOILA – the atrium …
The protestors have gathered here for CAIR’s Independence Day Presser.
Familiar faces, too, like Donna Nevel (Jewish Voice For Peace).
Labor Union Rabbi Michael Feinberg (Interfaith Worker Justice) .
Soon, Nevel and Feinberg put out warnings on ME to CAIR’s Mr. Albert Cahn, who seemed to regret his cheery greeting in the elevator. NERVOUS I guess, cause I – the ENEMY- was in his – CAIR’s – very sacred – PUBLIC – space.
Now, he asked me who was I with. What media. And another person wanted to know if I was a volunteer. Really? Come on, guys, first thing I signed-in as media. ALL are WELCOME here, right?
All proceeded normally, so it seemed, with cameras in place; waiting for the speakers. (2 pictures David Moriya )
Video: Then the MC made his welcoming speech. All was calm.
However, as soon as the first refugee speaker (Poor William) began (all would be refugee/emigres sharing their stories) the JDL counter-protest began, too.
Turning ALL of their Alinsky-tactics back at them, the JDL caused palpitations amongst the Lefties who “discreetly” scrambled with their signs and banners to cover up the very mobile JDL flag and a Blue Line Flag.
The first actual speaker was “Poor William from Iran”. He spoke calmly and succinctly about why he fled Iran (he’s Jewish) and his uncertain status in the U.S. While in the back ground, the JDL flag was very busy.
VIDEO – William from Iran
The Blue Line Flag stayed put in one corner, not easy to see, but that did not deter the Lefties. They seemed MORE upset by this flag. (So much for grateful patriotism.) Of of course – President TRUMP.
I stayed. Covered all the speakers. And SO DID THE JDL. They stayed,too. Heard later that the CAIR hosts asked the police to remove the “INTERLOPERS”. But, this was met with a firm, NO. Public Space. (Right Back atcha, CAIR!) Which then accounts for the nice little speech the MC made mid-presser.
“Let’s keep our eyes up here- at the podium. Ignore the protestors. They have a right to be here. This is America. but, let’s focus on why we are here.”
MORE SPEAKERS in VIDEO Playlist:
Slide show of signs and banners:
Leaving the atrium, I was surprised to see educator, Debbie Almontaser.
Almontaser – of the infamous Khalil Gibran Public School Madrassa and Intifada NYC T-shirt. (Picture/link 2007)
Currently, Dr. Almontaser sits on Public Advocate Tish James’ Jewish, Muslim, and Sikh Task Force to Combat Hate. Almontaser’s first step when leading a session she creates a community agreement about how to interact during the session. For example:
Approach others with respect
Don’t make identity-based assumptions
“Listen to learn”; use “generous listening”
Be aware of privilege and intersectionality
Assume good intentions
Don’t take it personally if someone says you’ve said something offensive
Debbie (Almontaser) was having fun sharing some very animated selfies.
The Green Hat fake legal team – standing at the door – looking lost next to real police
And Patriots who had been in the back were now at the exit, continuing to speak their minds in SUPPORT of Pres. Trump.
As the CAIR Lefties tried to leave – smug with success – they had to walk through the WE WON, YOU LOST Patriots! Again. (fun.)
These malcontents who masquerade as patriots, these traitors, who have snookered people like Poor William from Iran; conning them into working with organizations like CAIR (organizations that are committed to deconstructing our government, America) They do not intend to fade away.
But, WE have met their challenge.
We will not be Silent. We TOO have NOT forgotten. WE WON. YOU LOST.
BUT- all was not over. As I walked to the subway, about two dozen protesters marched passed me to to Tower’s entrance on Fifth Avenue, yelling anti-fascist chants.
Perhaps now, THIS was :
…. til NEXT TIME….
[Where indicated, Pictures and Videos Property of Pamela Hall]