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Anti-Trump Protesters Demonstrate Outside GOP Gala


Alright, the sound there of anti-Trump protesters on the streets of New York last night. One of the protesters involved was Natalia Aristizabal. She is with the group Make the Road Action that advocates for Latinos and working-class communities. She's on the line with us right now. Natalia, good morning.

NATALIA ARISTIZABAL: Good morning, David

GREENE: Tell me exactly where you were last night and what you were trying to Accomplish.

ARISTIZABAL: Yes, I was inside of the hotel, and we were trying to send a message that's loud and clear that we want a city and a state that's hate-free.

GREENE: Hate-free, and you believe that this was a message for Donald Trump that you were trying to send?

ARISTIZABAL: Actually, it wasn't just for Donald Trump. But, yes, he was - he's the main conductor of this train of hate. But also for the other people in the Republican Party who are continuing to run on a platform that is fueling hate and fear. And so we want them to know that we don't accept that anywhere and especially in New York.

GREENE: So these protests like this - that it seems like are meant to disrupt, I mean, Trump events, what exactly are you trying to accomplish? I mean, is it thinking that every time someone who supports Trump sees something like this, they might be less likely to support him as we go forward?

ARISTIZABAL: I mean, what people do - I hope that people can analyze what Trump is offering to them more than what he can do or not for a hotel or his properties. But basically, what we're trying to do is - he's disrupting our lives by, again, spreading this tone of hate and fear. And what we need to do is then disrupt their lives.

They can't just have an event and come to New York - where it is an immigrant city, a queer city, a black city - and expect for them to just be welcome with open arms. We're here to send a loud message that we're not going to tolerate any of these platforms - not in New York.

GREENE: Natalia, there've been altercations in the past at Trump events that - some of which have become violent. And I guess I just want to ask you, if you are encouraging people to go inside events like that knowing that things could turn violent, I mean, do groups like yours take some responsibility if violence does happen and someone gets hurt?

ARISTIZABAL: We are absolutely nonviolent. We believe that we can put our bodies on the line to send a message because that's what we hold - right? - like, what we have to offer the world - our bodies. But we're not promoting violence. I actually think that if you look at everything that Donald Trump says, especially in his - not just at fundraisers but when he's giving speeches, he is promoting those type of actions.

And actually, when there has been violence, I actually think that it's usually his supporters who are starting it. I think that we have the right by the Constitution to free speech and to say what we believe in and we don't believe in anything that he's saying. And he's not portraying our community in a way that's positive. And he's also as a candidate - as a presidential candidate - he's not speaking about community and solutions. He's, again, trying to divide and conquer.

GREENE: But, Natalia, you do know that you're sending people into a place where there could be violence. I mean, you're aware of that?

ARISTIZABAL: I'm aware of that. As immigrant, black people, queer people living in America, we are facing violence all the time. We're facing violence in different ways, and what we have is our body. And that's what we can put on the line. And, you know, our message is not only to the Republican Party, who continues to spread this hate and live in it, it's also on the Democratic Party or whoever doesn't uplift our lives.

GREENE: We've been speaking to Natalia Aristizabal, she's an activist with the group Make the Road Action, and she was demonstrating outside a Manhattan hotel last night where three Republican candidates were speaking. Natalia, thanks very much.

ARISTIZABAL: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.