Today, New York State Senator Daniel Squadron and Assemblymember Charles D. Lavine introduced legislation titled the “Anything But Trump Act” (S. 6298) which seeks to rename the Donald J. Trump State Park and any signage associated with Donald J. Trump’s name. This bill is a direct response to the discriminatory proposals Donald Trump has set out while on the campaign trail. The New York State Legislators have deemed Mr. Trump’s rhetoric as “hostile to the core values of New York and the nation.”
Peter Salem, a Muslim and Veteran of the Revolutionary War, was highly regarded in the heroic battle campaigns which occurred in the State of New York. Mr. Salem was born a slave to Jeremiah Belknap who lived in Framingham, Massachusetts circa 1750 and sold to Lawson Buckminster who freed him upon enlistment in the Revolutionary War as a Minuteman. Legend has it that Mr. Salem changed his surname to the Arabic name “Saleem” which means “one who is peaceful.”
Historically, Mr. Salem is known for his prowess at Concord, Saratoga, Stony Point, and most notably Bunker Hill, where Mr. Salem had slain British Major Pitcairn after ordering the surrender of American colonists. Mr. Salem defended the colonists with an immediate shot which mortally wounded British Major Pitcairn. The shooting of British Major Pitcairn left the British infantry bewildered which allowed the American colonists to overcome the British and regain possession of Bunker Hill. Mr. Salem was honored by a visit which allowed him to meet General George Washington.
The battles at Saratoga and Stony Point strategically led to the defeat of the British Army and caused the surrender of British Major General Burgoyne on October 17, 1777. The gun used by Peter Salem to slay British Major Pitcairn is on display at the museum in Bunker Hill, Massachusetts. He lived until the ages of 66 where he died in a “public poorhouse in 1816.” A monument was structured honoring Peter Salem in 1882 in Framingham, Massachusetts at the Old Burying Ground. Peter Salem was buried far away from the other soldiers who fought in the Revolutionary War; however, he was buried during a time where no African-Americans were buried in the Old Burying Ground. Therefore, Assemblymember Charles D. Lavine would like to name the park after Peter Salem for his heroic contributions. Senator Daniel Squadron is calling on the local community to engage in a public renaming process for the Donald J. Trump State Park.
New York State Senator Daniel Squadron said, “The rhetoric and discriminatory proposals we’ve seen from Mr. Trump don’t belong in the presidential election, and don’t belong in New York State Parks[.] He has dishonored the state, and should not be honored with a state park named for him. I look forward to working with Assemblymember Lavine on this issue.” New York Assemblymember Charles D. Lavine said, “I am confident that the Governor will take our letters into consideration. If he is unable to act, then we are prepared to move forward with this legislation.”
Lavine and Squadron have communicated with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo regarding the legislation herein. It should be noted that the State of New York obtained the land by way of donation from Donald Trump in 2006. In a failed attempt to secure rights to develop the land, Mr. Trump donated it after acknowledging that he would not be able to develop it into a golf course. The Donald J. Trump State Park remained an incomplete work and closed in 2010 because there was no funding.