In a good indicator of just how much President Trump has outraged New Yorkers, thousands of people took advantage of Sunday's alarmingly unseasonable February weather by crowding into Times Square. The NYPD sent up protest pens on Broadway from 47th to 50th Streets to accommodate the crowds that gathered for a rally called "Today, I Am A Muslim, Too," which was organized to show solidarity for the increasingly targeted Muslim community in America.
The call to protest yesterday was issued by an interfaith coalition, as well as former Trump buddy and hip hop impresario Russell Simmons, who addressed the crowd saying, "We won't speak too harshly of him today. We want to thank him for bringing us together... So we are here today to show middle America our beautiful signs and, through our beautiful actions and intention, that they have been misled—that the seeds of hate that were small and maybe just ignorance cannot be watered, and that hate cannot grow because we are here to assist them in promoting love."
— NBC New York (@NBCNewYork) February 19, 2017
The rally's roster of speakers was long enough to fill four hours of speeches, and included leaders from Muslim, Sikh, Jewish, Christian, Hindu, and Buddhist communities, as well as activists, entertainers, and politicians.
Most everyone who got up on the small, patriotically-bedecked stage was welcomed with cheers, but Susan Sarandon was met with jeers and shouts of "traitor!"—according to one detractor, the actor/activist is not to be forgiven for supporting third party candidate Jill Stein during the general election. And a lively "End Broken Windows!" chant arose during Mayor de Blasio's speech.
De Blasio said, "We are here to show middle America our beautiful signs and, through our beautiful actions and intentions, that they have been misled. They’ll see our rally; they’ll question their government."
Another organizer, Linda Sarsour, rallied the crowd with her pride:
— I Am A Muslim Too (@iamamuslimtoo) February 19, 2017
The rally seemed well-funded, with free t-shirts ("I Am A Muslim Too" on one; the Arabic word for "human" on another) given to early arrivals, and Shepard Fairey posters printed on heavy stock handed out to anyone who wanted one.
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) February 19, 2017
The unifying spirit of the rally brought together people of multiple faiths, as well as non-believers. As one young self-proclaimed atheist said, "I just see Muslims as people, and am here to show my support for them."