Donald Trump surely has been making headlines for the past few weeks. The Donald J. Trump for President campaign is up, running and, surprisingly to some, thriving. The Queens, N.Y. native, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania graduate, best-selling author and co-producer of 14-season strong “The Apprentice” is making a run for the President of the United States again, and he’s already made some really big waves.
In a July 20-released Washington Post-ABC poll, Trump emerged as a leader amongst nearly 12 declared candidates. Simultaneously, in the last three weeks, Trump has made disparaging comments about Latinos and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). On the former, he said in a late-June speech: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best… They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
The backlash has been pretty mighty, and it’s even manifested into some “Trump for Presidente” posters that started popping up around New York City and Philadelphia in July. The artist responsible for them is a law school dropout who goes by the name Hanksy, stylized as such due to one of his first projects in which he used Tom Hanks’ face with a Banksy-style work. Banksy is a pseudonymous activist, painter and graffiti artist from the United Kingdom.
“My girlfriend’s from Philly and her family’s from Philly and her sister lives in South Philly,” Brandon Rosenblatt, Hanksy’s assistant, said of the Trump poster connection. “He sort of thought it would be funny to make up this fabricated story that Donald had called him to run his advertising campaign to win the votes of Hispanics.”
Somewhere between 15 and 20, six to 10 in each city, went up in NYC and Philly and “South Philly got about half of those. A lot of them got taken down pretty quickly by people that want them,” Rosenblatt added.
The connection is Angela DePersia, the sister of Rosenblatt’s girlfriend, who “lives near the Italian Market on Ninth Street. She’s been a really good way for him to sneak into Philly for a couple days and [poster] easily and quickly and she’ll house him for a day or so.”
Many pop culture icons have spoken up to rail against Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric, from Rosie Perez to America Ferrera. There are many locals who are just as frustrated and who see Trump as a sign of a greater problem in American culture.
Jasmine Rivera, lead organizer for soon-to-be-Sixth-and-Tasker-streets-based Juntos, a Latino immigrant rights organization, said simply “Trump is a like a symptom of a much larger disease that’s starting to get worse.”
Ben Miller, with his wife Cristina Martinez, just officially opened South Philly Barbacoa in the former Vegan Commissary storefront at 1703 S. 11th St. It’s a traditional Mexican cooking method of roasting whole lambs for tacos and consommé. They used to run a food cart on the sidewalk by Eighth and Watkins streets, but neighbors complained. Miller’s taken his and his wife’s business as a way to advocate for fairness in immigrant policies.
“We’re here to be an example that undocumented immigrants are contributing to the economy. We pay taxes. We’re a family that’s trying to support ourselves and build community,” Miller explained. “And raise awareness among people in the restaurant industry to not fail to acknowledge the contribution of undocumented workers that work alongside them and to recognize the people that they know as good family people to stand up to people like Trump, who perpetuates a myth, and it is a myth.”
Miller aptly noted that Trump has a factory in Mexico that produces clothing with cheap labor and encourages Americans to imagine policies in place that prevent people from ever leaving their country, even if it’s to feed their children.
“There’s more poor people than rich people in this country,” Miller added, “and the poor people need a voice.”
Staff Writer Bill Chenevert at email@example.com or ext. 117.