Protests continued outside the RNC on Wednesday as hundreds of people gathered to erect a “Wall Against Trump,” blocking the entrance to the arena with a massive cloth banner painted like a wall. The Republican Party has formally endorsed Donald Trump’s proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border in the party platform.
AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org. We’re “Breaking with Convention: War, Peace and the Presidency,” broadcasting from Cleveland. Protests continue outside the RNC. On Wednesday, hundreds of people gathered to erect a “Wall Against Trump,” blocking the entrance to the convention center with a massive cloth banner painted like a wall.
PROTESTERS: No papers! No fear! No papers! No fear! No papers! No fear!
EVA CARDENAS: We are going to be walling off hate, xenophobia, and we’re going to continue our pledge to protect our communities from people in positions of power who do not look out for the benefit of all of us as a community. Today we are drawing a line in the sand to demand respect for our communities and to ask for folks that are stepping on the sidelines, not knowing what they should do, to come and join us and to start walling up hate in their communities, to start protecting their people, because we, as a community, know the solutions. No one else is going to do it for us. So this is a call to action, but also a message to Trump and anyone that feels like using xenophobia and hate as a means of power. That’s not the solution, and we’re going to be here and continue to fight.
SAM ALCOFF: Can you introduce yourself and the organization that you’re with?
RAMON MEJIA: My name is Ramon Mejia. I’m from Dallas, Texas. I’m with Iraq Veterans Against the War. I’m also one of the founding members of #VetsVersusHate, a national movement by veterans to oppose hateful rhetoric by the Republican Party or any politician, including Trump. I’m a son of immigrants. My parents came from Mexico. And so, the fact that you had Donald Trump saying that my father, who is an immigrant, or my other family members, who immigrated from Mexico, to say that they’re rapists or murderers or thieves is just not so. And I’m also here because I’m a Muslim. So, when Donald Trump is saying that they’re going to the deport or he’s going to ban the—you know, the travel of Muslims into the country, or we have Newt Gingrich, who’s saying that they’re going to deport any Muslim who believes in Sharia law—I believe in Sharia law. I’m a Muslim. I’m a Latino. And I’m here to support both my communities, that are being marginalized and attacked by Donald Trump and specific constituents, racist constituents, within the GOP party.
PROTESTERS: Wall off Trump! Wall off Trump!
LAURA VEIRA: My name is Laura Veira. We’re with United We Dream Action. But we’re here supporting the organization Mijente and their action today. We were already here for the Republican convention as part of our own organization, so we were here at our own marching two days ago. So, just here, we’re fighting for the same thing. All of our communities—communities of color, the LGBTQ community—we all want to stand together, united against hate, that has been fired by like Donald Trump.
SAM ALCOFF: Trump has tried to make it sound like his rhetoric is simply protecting the borders, it’s just what a nation needs. What are the—what is the impact of the language that he’s been using this campaign on the immigrant community?
LAURA VEIRA: Well, on our community, it criminalizes most of us. So there are people who even claim to be on our side, who claim to be pro-immigration, but will use like the hashtags, for example, Obama has used—felons—or, #FamiliesBeforeFelons. But that essentially criminalizes our whole community. So, it’s—what is the definition of “criminals”? It can be—we can just be seen as criminals by being here or by maybe driving without a license, which is not enough—like a good enough reason for them to feel that way. I am undocumented, so I have been viewed as a criminal, technically, in the eyes of probably most of the Republican Party. So, yeah, I came here when I was three years old. And that’s not enough—like, I didn’t make the decision to come here, so it’s kind of crazy to think of three-year-olds as criminals.
SAM ALCOFF: Now that Trump’s wall proposal has been integrated into the Republican Party platform, do you think that Trump’s rhetoric about the wall has become mainstream?
LAURA VEIRA: Yeah, it’s one of the main things that people associate with him, so a lot of people will be able—it’s a huge thing that they can just chant, like “build a wall” to keep all of the “illegals” out, as they refer to us. But yeah, it’s just—it represents his whole, like, immigration policy, which people have not taken into account how much that would cost. And by actually deporting all 11 million of us and building that wall, it would cost the country so much money, and we would eventually go into debt.
PROTESTERS: Wall off Trump! Wall off Trump!
TOMÁS MARTÍNEZ: [translated] My name is Tomás Martínez. I come from southern Georgia, from an organization that is called GLAHR, with the bigger organization Mijente. We are here with this wall to block the wall Trump wants to build in the border. We prefer that the wall stays here as this virtual wall, as this wall of love. We don’t want him to build a wall on the border with Mexico. The message of Donald Trump has created fear in our community, that already has been very well impacted from President Barack Obama’s deportations policy. Now, with this threat that he is going to create hate and by saying that he will kick us all out, there is fear in our communities. That is why we believe that this is the right moment to come here and protest and to confine the hate with this wall, so that the hate Donald Trump has been wanting to disseminate won’t reach to our houses and our communities. Donald wants to build a wall, so we have brought this wall.
PROTESTERS: Wall off Trump! Wall off Trump! Wall off Trump! Wall off Trump! Wall off Trump! Wall off Trump!
JOHN SELLERS: John Sellers with The Other 98 and Ruckus Society. We’re at the front door of Trump’s convention here in Cleveland, Ohio, and there are a number of immigrants, documented and undocumented, that are walling off Trump right now, as we speak. They built a wall to wall out hate and wall off Trump. He wants a wall. We’re bringing it to him. And look, Mexican folks are bringing it to him, and Mexican folks helped pay for this wall. We had an Indiegogo that raised $15,000, and lots of Mexican people in Mexico contributed to it.
SAM ALCOFF: So, we’re at the corner of East Fourth Street and Prospect Ave., where immigrant activists from around the country have successfully built a wall against Trump at one of the main entrances to the Republican National Convention. This is Sam Alcoff, with John Hamilton, for Democracy Now!
AMY GOODMAN: And that does it for today’s broadcast. If you’d like to see both hours of the show, you can go to democracynow.org. I’ll be doing a convention wrap-up at the end of the two weeks. We’ll be broadcasting next week from the Democratic convention in Philadelphia. On Friday, July 29th, I’ll be speaking in Provincetown, Massachusetts, at 7:00 p.m., and on Saturday, July 30th, on Martha’s Vineyard at the Old Whaling Church. Check democracynow.org. Follow our team for the latest updates from the Republican National Convention this week on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and now Snapchat. Yes, Democracy Now! has joined Snapchat. Add us at democracy.now.