A pair of politically conscious teens tore down a “Make America Great Again” sign from a fence in Dyker Beach Park on July 11, saying the paraphernalia associated with presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump was antagonistic to Hispanic youth who often play soccer in the adjacent field.
During the incident, which was first recounted to Brooklyn Daily by neighbor and onlooker Mario Caggiano, the boys scaled the baseball diamond backstop on which the signage was displayed, ripped the banner down, and stomped on it.
The Republican candidate has been widely criticized for his hateful rhetoric towards Latinos, including the suggestion that Mexicans coming over the border are rapists, and declaring his plan to “build a wall” between the United States and Mexico. The boys appeared to be of Arab descent, according to Caggiano — Muslims and ethnic groups associated with the religion have also been targeted by Trump’s divisive remarks — however, they claimed to be defending the Mexican soccer players who often play there.
Caggiano, a school administrator and Hillary Clinton supporter, told Brooklyn Daily he was proud of the kids’ actions.
“It was inspiring to see children doing that — taking a stance — because they felt that Trump was very divisive,” he told the outlet. “I felt pride in these children doing this. I don’t want our neighborhood to be cast in that light — that we’re close-minded. I don’t want any of that divisiveness.”
However, local Trump supporters we spoke to said they were not swayed by the gesture, and objected to the suggestion that the pro-Trump sign was offensive.
“It’s not racist at all. That’s just something liberals use to attack conservatives,” said Angelo Bonsignor, one of Dyker Heights’ most outspoken Trump supporters who frequently finds himself at anti-Trump rallies unofficially repping the candidate. “I know people who are for Trump who are Hispanic and black. I meet them all the time. The facts are he’s not racist.”
A New York City Parks representative said posting signs in public green spaces without a permit is forbidden, and that the Trump sign was not approved by the city agency.