Worried about the results of the presidential election and how it would affect minority groups, Cherie Kahn said, she and other Port Washington activists decided to take a stand.
Working to assure that members of the Hispanic, Muslim and other minority groups won’t be forgotten when President-elect Donald Trump takes office, Kahn and a group of local activists organized a gathering last week for people to voice their concerns.
“People got up and spoke about what we can do to protect people in these vulnerable groups,” Kahn said. “Right after the election, we were thinking about how to mobilize and help people who will be affected in our community.”
The gathering at the Port Washington Public Library drew a diverse crowd of about 50 people, Kahn said, and featured speakers discussing everything from how minority groups will be affected to climate change.
“We have a very diverse population in Port Washington,” she said. “We have a huge Hispanic and Muslim population, too, and a lot of people might directly be affected by the policies that could be coming.”
Sonia Arora, who helped organize the event, said many parents spoke about their children being concerned with their safety.
Last month, a student at Paul D. Schreiber High School discovered a swastika drawn on the wall in the boys bathroom, the first of a number of incidents of hate graffiti on the North Shore.
“A lot of people did speak up and show their concerns,” Arora said, “A number of young people, too.”
Kahn and Arora said with a week to prepare for the event, it was successful because people showed up and wanted to get involved.
“We want to find out how we can address issues that are going to affect people, especially the vulnerable people in the community,” Kahn said. “We want to help protect the LGBT community, people fighting for women’s health, protect against hate crimes happening against Muslims and Jews.”
Kahn and Arora were part of a group that organized a peace gathering recently in Manorhaven Park that attracted 500 people.
The group who put together the event at the library is working on a larger gathering on Jan. 15 at the Landmark on Main Street.
“We are organizing a diversity fair for Jan. 15,” Arora said. “We’re trying to get entertaiment and food and speakers, and we’re spreading the word around.”
Arora said she and the other activists have been attending meetings and events at local churches to spread the message about the event.
“What’s most important than anything else is for people to feel safe,” Arora said. “Long Island can be an isolated and segregated place for certain communities. Our goal is to build a collation within the community to bring people from different groups together.”