Hate-Free Zone Rally and March in Queens



Despite the strong winds and 40 degree temperatures, Damayan Community Organizer and trafficking survivor, Lydia Amaya Catina addressed the crowd of over 1,000 people with strength and dignity on December 2nd in Jackson Heights, Queens. Lydia was speaking at the launch of the Hate-Free Zone rally and march, an event organized by Desis Rising Up & Moving (DRUM), ADHIKAAR, Damayan Migrant Workers Association and immigrant workers, to strengthen a community defense system in response to the incoming Trump administration.

Lydia called for a united front from all grassroots organizations, to fight the increased hate and bigotry caused by rightist groups, which, she stated, are planning to systematically divide and destroy our marginalized communities. With Trump’s administration and policies directly attacking immigrant communities, Lydia stated the necessity of unity, “We have to stand united against racism, sexism and imperialism. Our struggle has not been easy and will not be easy. It has been going on long before Trump, and now more than ever WE MUST FIGHT!”

The rally was part of a growing number of events, trainings, and marches aimed at finding ways and creating spaces for frontline communities to defend themselves and gain mutual support in light of the increased racism and bigotry. The Queens rally focused on declaring the neighborhood as a “Hate-Free Zone,” something the organizers hope other immigrant neighborhoods in the city and nationwide will also do.

The Hate-Free Zone rally and march was a powerful testament of the unity and strength of the immigrant communities of New York City, and their tenacious spirit in struggle as they vow to continue to stand up and fight back. The unity and organizing exemplified by the march and rally continues on December 17th, when Damayan hosts a Know Your Rights Training. The training will include presentations from experienced immigration attorneys from Community Development Project at the Urban Justice Center and Immigrant Defense Project as well as Damayan workers and organizers. There will be also be a hands-on training on how to create individual safety planning, community defense teams, and other ways to educate, organize and mobilize our communities.

All power to the people.