By W.B. King
Days before Christmas, a group of local residents gathered at The Oath on Tarrytown’s Main Street. These virtual Facebook friends came together, in part, to combat President-elect Donald Trump’s proposed political agenda, including the possible deportation of undocumented immigrants.
“The meeting was less anti-Trump and more pro-diversity and culture,” said Tarrytown resident Seth Dellon, 32, who started the Facebook group “Social Action for 10591” shortly after the presidential election. The group has roughly 150 members, 19 of which attended the inaugural meeting.
“The group is inclusive and a safe place. The focus of the first meeting was to determine our common goals. The most logical place to start is the large immigrant population in Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown,” said Dellon, whose day job is co-publisher of Foreword Magazine. “We want them to know that we are here and that we support them.”
Dellon related that while he always “fancied” himself a liberal person, he wasn’t always politically active. This year’s election, however, stirred something inside of him. “This is my first venture in trying to be an activist,” said Dellon, who is married and a father.
A Message of Inclusion
Among meeting attendees was Daniel Convissor, 48, who lives in Sleepy Hollow with his wife and two children.
“There was a broad array of issues brought up at the meeting. A lot of the discussion was focused on solidarity work and making all people feel welcome in the rivertowns,” he explained.
“We have a huge Ecuadorian and Latin community here,” he continued. “We don’t want to see mass deportations. I don’t think that is going to happen, but we really don’t know what will happen (under a Trump presidency).”
While Social Action for 10591 demographics varies in both age and race, Dellon conceded that the meeting was attended mostly by Caucasian men and women. He is sensitive to undocumented residents who may be wary of being in the public eye.
“There weren’t representatives from the Latin community, which is a red flag for us,” said Dellon. “Our community is diverse, but our meeting wasn’t particularly diverse. If we are not representing a cross-section of the community, we will probably not accomplish our goal of being advocates for everybody.”
In an effort to broaden the group’s reach, Convissor said group members may reach out to Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow board trustees. Communication on all levels is required, he said.
“I encourage people in Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown to hook up with our group or join the other local groups that are also doing what we are doing,” said Convissor. “The idea is to get together with like-minded people for positive change.”
Dellon is encouraged by the group’s first meeting and the momentum on the Facebook page. The group, he said, is still in the beginning stages of “connecting dots” and formulating a structure.
“We are going to try and meet twice a month. One for planning and one for socialization,” added Dellon, who noted that The Oath’s management was supportive and welcoming. “One of the issues that came up at the meeting is that people are looking for like-minded new friends.”