Led by Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, the march was an opportunity for residents to voice concerns about Trump’s views and to make a statement about the borough’s values.
“Donald Trump may have been raised in Queens, but he is not from here anymore,” Van Bramer said. “The Queens he grew up in is not the Queens we love. Queens is about diversity, Queens is about love and equality.”
The march came days after a community forum in Sunnyside where hundreds of residents pledged to defend women, Muslims, undocumented immigrants and the LGBT community from danger.
Last week, Van Bramer, an openly gay man, received a death threat online that took aim at his sexuality.
“Rest of the people from Queens do not agree with your homosexual lifestyle,” the email read. “I will keep a close eye on your every moves so that when it’s time to execute traitors, I will try my best so that you name is included in that list of traitors. Execution is the penalty for a traitor.”
But Van Bramer marched on Saturday anyway. He asked all of the demonstrators to speak with loud voices for the values they believe in.
“We don’t know if Donald Trump is in the tower or in some golf club in New Jersey, but I want him to hear all of you tonight,” he said. “No one will ever stop me or any of you from marching and raising our voices.
“No matter what anyone says or what anyone writes in an email, I am proud to be a gay man,” he added. “No one can take that love away from us.”
Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito joined Van Bramer to lead Saturday’s march. She told a story about meeting a man who was afraid of being separated with his family because of his religion.
“He had a lot of concern in his eyes,” Mark-Viverito said. “I knew he was referring to the Muslim registry.”
Noting that “we are already living dark times,” Mark-Viverito said she will not be silent in voicing her opposition to the president-elect.
“I am not going to say 'let’s give them a chance,'” she said. “In this one week, we’ve already seen what he is about and that everything he put out in his campaign is something he is looking to fulfill, to roll back the rights that we have gained over years.”
She was referring to Trump offering the position of attorney general to Senator Jeff Sessions, whom she called “anti-immigrant and a racist.” Sessions was previously denied a position as a federal judge over allegations that he called a black attorney “boy” and joking that the only thing wrong with the Ku Klux Klan was their drug use.
Mark-Viverito also took issue with vice president-elect Mike Pence, who signed a controversial bathroom bill when he was governor of Indiana that critics said targeted transgender Americans. Van Bramer also said he reject Pence’s beliefs about electroshock therapy.
“We reject what Mike Pence, our vice president-elect believes, which is that if you just electrocute gay people enough they will turn straight,” he said. “I can say to the vice president-elect, you will never make me straight.”
Many protesters held signs denouncing Trump’s appointment of Steve Bannon, the former head of Breitbart and alleged white nationalist, as a chief strategist and senior adviser.
“We’re already seeing the writing on the wall,” Mark-Viverito said. “We cannot be silent.”
Comptroller Scott Stringer added that if the Trump administration fights one group of people, “they’re fighting all of us.”
“If they set up a registry, I’m registering,” Stringer said, referring to the possible Muslim registry. “We come from all different backgrounds, but at the end of the day we’re one New York. That’s why it’s so critical that we fight and stand up.”