Many New Yorkers headed down to D.C. to protest President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration today. But a grassroots group in the Bronx decided to stay and do the work in their own community. Emily Dugdale has the story.
Friday morning saw New Yorkers gathering around the Harriet Tubman Memorial Statue in Central Harlem with signs, medic kits, and yes, buttons for sale.
Shannon Jones pinned a button that read “Respect the Black Women” onto the jacket of a passing protestor. But she was also there for a different kind of business.
JONES: We’re here today because it’s the first day of a new regime in power.
Jones is a member of the grassroots group Why Accountability, a Black, female-led organization based in the Bronx. Since the chokehold death of Eric Garner in 2014, they’ve demonstrated against police brutality and racial injustice in New York. With today’s inauguration, they’re protesting to make sure local issues affecting Black and Brown communities aren’t ignored in the future.
JONES: We want to hold our local politicians accountable, because they not going to spend the next two years or four or eight blaming everything on Trump. No, the conditions that we have in the City of New York are a result of the apathetic, do nothing, paper-pushing democratic party in the City of New York.
Sitting across from the Harriet Tubman statue is Alicia Grion. The symbolism of the monument and the protest isn’t lost on her.
GIRON: We’re gathering in front of Harriet Tubman, who is just a monumental figure. So I think all these signifiers meant more to me than gathering anywhere else in New York City.
As the crowd grows and speakers get on the mic, I catch local rapper Nelson Seda warming up to perform.
SEDA: I feel every protest is important because the earth is a big place. And at the same time too, there is a ghetto everywhere that is affected by the coming administration.
He says, what good is respect, if you become the mockery. Emily Dugdale, Columbia Radio News.