Lati-no she didn’t! Clinton Hispanic rally venue a symbol of gentrification, protesters say

Lati-no she didn’t! Clinton Hispanic rally venue a symbol of gentrification, protesters say
Photo by Georgine Benvenuto

A woman interrupted presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton’s Latino-focused rally at Industry City — and protesters demonstrated outside — claiming the Sunset Park manufacturing complex did not represent the community and is a gentrifying force that will lead to neighborhood Latinos’ displacement.

“Go to the park, go to Chinatown — there’s a lot of other places she could be!” the disrupter shouted as Clinton took the stage at the April 9 event. “This is not Sunset Park, which is not for sale!”

Security dragged the woman out as the crowd drowned her out by chanting Hillary’s name.

Social and environmental justice group Uprose demonstrated against the location outside. The complex — home to hip food-makers, Manhattan-fleeing fashionistas, and tech companies — is in the midst of a $1 billion redevelopment that detractors charge will raise property taxes and rents in the neighborhood, pushing out long-time residents.

But Industry City’s owners said in November that half of the 4,000 employees working for its tenants are people of color and live in the neighborhood. Owners recently opened a public job-training center there and host free cultural events.

One Dominican supporter said Clinton is the obvious choice for Latinos.

Siting concern: The heckler, left, panned Clinton’s choice of venue ⏤ Industry City ⏤ because some see it as a gentrifying force that will lead to local Latinos’ displacement.
Photo by Georgine Benvenuto

“I know a lot of people who say like ‘Oh well she’s white,’ but to me she’s still a person, and she can still relate to us,” said Denise Filipe-Adams, who has volunteered for Clinton and is running for district leader in Bushwick and Cypress Hills in November. “Besides the fact that she vacations a lot in the Dominican Republic, she’s just inspirational and a hope for people in my community.”

Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D–Sunset Park), the first Puerto Rican woman elected to Congress, introduced Clinton to the eager crowd.

The presidential hopeful made pitches directed at Puerto Ricans and immigrant communities.

She called on Congress to provide Puerto Rico relief to for its multi-billion-dollar debt, and said it “makes no sense at all” that Puerto Ricans — who are all U.S. citizens at birth — living in the territory could not vote in federal elections, even though the could if they moved to Brooklyn.

She also pledged more services for non English-speaking kids and a health care system that is affordable for working families.

Clinton did not mention her Saturday loss in the Wyoming Democratic caucus to her primary challenger, the Brooklyn-born Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vermont). She currently leads the Senator in the race for the Democratic Party nomination with 1,756 delegates to his 1,068. Either candidate needs 2,383 delegates to clinch a nomination. Clinton is heavily favored to win the New York State primary and the of the Democratic nomination.

Reppin’ Hill: Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-Brooklyn) says Clinton is the choice for Latinos.
Photo by Georgine Benvenuto

Reach reporter Dennis Lynch at (718) 260–2508 or e-mail him at dlync[email protected]local.com.