ALBANY, N.Y. -- Fears of what a Trump Presidency will mean for minority groups motivated a gathering at Albany’s Townsend Park.
It was a counter protest to a Ku Klux Klan rally planned for Saturday in North Carolina.
“A victory rally for Trump and we want to show that an awful lot of Americans don’t feel that way,” said Joe Lombardo, one of the rally organizers.
Participants marched along Central Avenue from Townsend Park to Dana Park, many holding signs and chanting along the way.
Trump has denounced support from the KKK, but many protesters feel his campaign rhetoric unfairly targeted marginalized communities.
“What we see nationally is there’s an attempt to make these kinds of things normal, that it is OK to scapegoat women and it is OK to scapegoat immigrants or Muslims or LGBTQ people and we’re here to say it is not OK,” said Mark Mishler, a rally participant.
“After the election I was a bit nervous to leave my home,” said Pauline Thompson.
Thompson is new to Albany. She’s Muslim. The support and solidarity displayed by her new neighbors Saturday, comforting.
“To see people just coming and publically expressing their support for all minorities,” said Thompson.
The event, organized by the Capital District Coalition Against Islamophobia, also featured speakers including Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan.
“We have to make sure that our voices are heard and that this president-elect knows that he needs to represent each and every one of us,” Sheehan said.
Saturday’s rally was a promise among participants to support each other.
“We know there’s threats to the Muslim population and the immigrant population and those of us with a conscience have to stand in solidarity with them,” said Lombardo.
Several Republican leaders for comment, as well as the Albany County Republican Committee and the New York State Republican Committee did not immediately return a request for comment.