About a dozen Valley Stream residents and those from other communities gathered in the Green Acres Mall Target parking lot on Sunday to protest the Trump administration. The demonstration was intended to serve as a counterprotest to a pro-Trump rally that began in the same location the previous Sunday.
“We wanted to demonstrate that Valley Stream is not racist and that we aren’t for the hate and racism that Trump stands for,” Organizer and Valley Stream resident, Anseer Khan, 36, said. “This is a left-leaning gathering that is about love and we are happy that the pro Trump rally chose not to show up in Valley Stream today because of this counter protest.”
Other attendees echoed Khan’s sentiment.
“I can’t take the hate and derision anymore, and Black lives matter,” Long Beach resident, Dorann Lyon, 54, said. “I can’t take four more years and I’m also here today because I don’t like Trump because of his ignorance about the climate and the environment.”
She was also critical of the Trump administration’s rollbacks of regulations intended to combat global warming.
“As an environmentalist and Green Party member, I know that Trump has been hard on the planet,” Lyon said. “I’m not at this gathering because I want confrontation or a fight with conservatives, but I have the right to advocate for the freedom that will make things better for everyone.”
Valley Stream resident, Brenda Yangali, 26, said she came to the protest to make a stance for the Democratic Party.
“I am anti-Trump because of everything we as a country has witnessed him do and say for the last four years and beyond,” she said. “We are making it be known what we stand for, which is love, unity, support for Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ+ rights, immigrants and every other marginalized group who feels they are attacked during this chaotic time.”
Responding to a social media inquiry, supporters of the president denounced the notion that Trump could be a racist.
“Trump has done so much for the general health of our republic and he has never been a racist. The word racist gets thrown around way too much and I get called a racist for being a Trump supporter,” Valley Streamer, Ronnie Traina said. “I love Black lives like all lives … people call me a racist, even though I’d give my last dollar to feed anyone or I’d give the shirt off my back to help anyone.”
Traina said that he was supportive of Trump’s proposals to build a wall along the United States border with Mexico.
“Trump has tackled human trafficking and stopped pedophiles, but that gets little news coverage,” Traina added. “Our economy was booming before this Covid insanity.”
Valley Streamer Marijo Sensale, who attended the prior week’s rally said it showed a strong sense of unity.
“The energy and enthusiasm at the pro-Trump rally was incredible and people truly love the United States of America and Trump,” she said.
Some at the counter-protest, however, said they were attending purely for humanitarian reasons.
“This is not political. I am here to show love to all people including Black people, LGBTQ people, women and all people that see expressions of hate in their communities,” said Valley Stream resident, Diego Yangali, 27. “I think we need to see more images of love and acceptance in our communities and I am about showing love regardless if someone has a different stance as me.”