How These Activists Gave Donald Trump A (Sweetened) Taste Of His Own Medicine

Photo: Courtesy of Daniel Forero / 12 Kinds Of Kindness.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is vocal about his desire to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border, but how does he like it when the tables are turned? This week, 100 volunteers gathered at Trump Tower to build a “Wall of Kindness” around the front of the building. The group stood for three hours with boards that spelled out, “Build Kindness Not Walls," offering what they see as a peaceful counterpoint to Trump’s rhetoric. “Excluding people breeds discrimination, hate, and sometimes terrorism,” Timothy Goodman and Jessica Walsh, the organizers of the demonstration, said in an emailed statement to Refinery29. “Instead of building walls and creating fear, we need to build more kindness, love, and acceptance in our country.”
Photo: Courtesy of Daniel Forero / 12 Kinds Of Kindness.
The wall is part of a larger project called 12 Kinds of Kindness, which encourages people to be more thoughtful and considerate in their daily lives. The campaign is a lead-by-example kind of personal activism. Goodman and Walsh came up with a series of 12 resolutions on how to be kinder, and spent 12 months putting them into practice. The resolutions were all focused on what an individual person could do — from asking how they could help the people they saw around New York City, to simply walking around with a smile. But for their final step, they translated the personal to political. In their statement, Goodman and Walsh called Trump’s words on the campaign trail downright scary. “We cannot pretend that these words won’t have consequences,” Goodman said. They hope that their activism will prove to Trump that his views are not the majority opinion. Trump’s proposal to build a wall closing off the U.S.-Mexico border has been met with everything from derision to disappointment to denunciation. In February, former Mexican president Felipe Calderón called the proposed wall “stupid” in an interview with CNBC and said Mexico would never pay a cent. The plan even drew condemnation from Pope Francis, who made himself the target of Trump’s ire when he said that "a person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian.” The organizers said their demonstration was welcomed on the streets of New York — some people took pictures, while truck drivers and cabbies offered honks of approval. “It made us feel more inspired to keep doing this. It’s been amazing to see all the positive and inspiring responses on social media," they said. "We hope more people will stand up to his bullying.”

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