Scenes from the Anti-Trump, Pro-Taco Protest in Las Vegas
In a protest organized by the Las Vegas Culinary Workers Union, food vendors lined up outside the Trump International Hotel on Wednesday to form a "wall" of indignant taco trucks.
A protestor outside of Trump Tower. All photos by Mikayla Whitmore.
Forget the border for a minute.
Many would argue that Donald Trump has built his own metaphorical wall, dividing America at every turn with hateful rhetoric and by advocating sexual and physical assault. But in response, his detractors armed themselves with free tacos and unity outside Trump International in Las Vegas today to send a message to the presidential candidate that they're united against his "hate."
"We're building a wall of tacos around the Trump tower," says Las Vegas artist Justin Favela, outside Trump International in Las Vegas, and whose own heritage is under attack. "This is showing how united the Latino community is. They've taken something like taco trucks to unify and built a wall of support and love around hate."
The line stretching down the sidewalk past the "wall" of taco trucks is filled with members of the Culinary Workers Union, Hillary supporters, local residents, and other taco-loving Americans caught in the wake of the Latinos for Trump founder warning that a Clinton victory could spell "taco trucks on every corner."
A large-headed caricature of the living caricature that is Trump stands behind a sign that reads, "Donald Trump mocks the disabled, degrades women, belittles his critics. America deserves better." A dry-erase board on the side of a taco truck announces, "Special of the day: Tacos in every corner."
Union members wear pageant sashes printed with the words "Ms. Housekeeping" and urge support for the workers of the Trump hotel; more than half, they say, want to negotiate for union representation. Signs read "Tacos trump hate" and political action committee American Bridge 21st Century is handing out free tacos, perhaps the most symbolic food of the 2016 presidential election.
Mostly, they want Trump to come to the table and meet with the workers of his own hotel: "Trump, if you want to make America great again, you can start by sitting down and talking with your own employees," one protester asserts over the loudspeakers while Rolls Royces pull into the valet of Trump's hotel, which sells "Make America Great Again" hats in its gift shop.
Outside, the "Wall of Unity," an elongated rendering of a brick wall, is signed by protesters.
"These people work hard every day and pay taxes," says Maria Theresa Ortiz, chef for her son's taco truck Latin Fusion Grill, which is parked with all the others.
The gold Trump building looming over us, she says, is "just a toy for Trump," but that "taco trucks and small businesses are real."
A pro-Trump protester carrying a sign that says "Gays for Trump" videotapes the crowd, declaring Trump detractors to be misguided. The crowd, however, isn't buying it.
"My father and mother both work for the Culinary Union," says anti-Trump protestor Adriana Garcia. "I don't like what Donald Trump stands for. He surely let us know that racism is alive and well."
Following prayers lead by religious leaders, voices of politicians, and the applause for Trump's housekeeping staff, the question rings out over the crowd: "Is anybody ready for some tacos?"
The music starts and the crowd cheers.