Alumnus organizes Queens Stands Together Rally in midst of heated political climate

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Additional reporting by Ashley Zhao

The Queens Stands Together Rally, sponsored by Class of 2005 alumnus Ethan Felder, will be hosted at Macdonald Park in Forest Hills. Public Advocate Letitia James, Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz, Majority leader Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, Comptroller Scott Stringer, and Muslim Student Association senior co-president Sangida Akter will be speaking at the event.

According to a Facebook event page, the rally will be held on February 26 to show solidarity and embrace diversity in the climate of high tension in America. Participants in the rally will be meeting in front of THHS at 10 a.m. where they will be taking the Q64 bus to the park.

Ethan, who organized the event, said that while seeing “all of the division and scapegoating of different groups, given the unique mosaic of Queens, a tolerance and anti-hate and solidarity rally was urgent and necessary.

He wants the message that “this type of rhetoric that we are hearing at a national level, is not what we value here in Queens and we want local and state officials to speak up about the…impacts that are being felt locally in terms of people fearing for their livelihood.”

Many Muslim Student Association (MSA) members have stated that they will be attending the rally. Senior Harleen Singh Karir said, “our main goal is to show that the minorities of Queens are still strong despite the extremely heated political environment right now.”

Sophomore Afeefah Anwar said that “the rally is the best way to approach current events and unite Queens as a whole.” She went on to describe Queens as a “bubble of diversity.”

Senior Sangida Akter, co-president of the MSA, cited the fact that there have been “so many great demonstrations and actions throughout the city following the passing of the most recent executive order…[but not] a Queens specific rally.” She wants the overall message to be that “in a time of such tensions and division, we should be proud to know Queens has a long-standing history of diversity and…we recognize it as our strength and what truly enriches a borough.”

Senior Tahiya Choudhury, who is also co-president of the MSA, agreed with Sangida, saying that this rally will “let politicians know that people are paying close attention to what’s going on in the country and that the people are fighting for what they want.”

Senior Matthew Mandel will also be attending the event. He said, “[the rally] is a really good opportunity to get together with [our] community… [to] stand up against an oppressive national government that disagrees with the values of our borough.” He felt that “when we see injustice being done to LGBTQ, Muslim, and African-American residents, it is important for us to use that as a signal that… activism is essential.”

This rally is only one of multiple events and rallies have been held throughout New York City in the aftermath of the President Donald Trump’s inauguration. Among past rallies were the Not My President’s Day Rally and the Women’s March.