Meet the ‘agitators’: NYC migrant standoff backed by these lefties and others
By Jack Morphet, Georgett Roberts, Joshua Rhett Miller, Michael Kaplan,
The activists who city officials blamed for helping fuel the migrant standoff outside Manhattan’s Watson Hotel included a “community organizer” from California and a New York writer who sparked controversy with an open letter that got her fired by Yelp.
At least one person in the group also apparently distributed an anti-cop leaflet produced by an anarchist organization that bills itself as a “rebel alliance” dedicated to “action against all the forces that threaten your freedom.”
On Wednesday, Mayor Eric Adams blasted the activists as “agitators that just really, I think, are doing a disservice to migrants and doing a disservice to the children and families we’re moving to hotels.”
City Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Manuel Castro also accused the rabble rousers of outright lying to migrants, telling Univision that they “seek some political motive.”
“They are telling them that we are establishing detention centers, which is incorrect,” Castro said.
On Thursday morning, The Post found a Spanish-language leaflet near the scene titled “7 Myths About The Police” that challenged the notions that cops “exercise legitimate authority” and “we need the police to protect us.”
The pamphlet’s illustrations included one showing a cop in riot gear clubbing someone on the ground and the caption, “Protecting and serving you, until you break your head.”
According to the leaflet, it was produced by CrimethInc., which is described on its website as a “decentralized network pledged to anonymous collective action — a breakout from the prisons of our age.”
Here are bios of some of the activists involved in the standoff:
Caroline Wong, 50
A Queens native, Wong told The Post she now lives in Los Angeles and came to the Big Apple through her job as a national organizer for the leftist Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary.
Wong said four other members of the group, known as BAMN, joined her at the standoff Wednesday morning, with plans for even more arrivals.
“We’re trying to arrange who can fly in and who can rent a car,” she said. “Some are New Yorkers, some are from Detroit, some are Californians, some are from the Bay Area, as in Oakland.”
Wong has organized protests on college campuses across the country, according to published reports.
“We go everywhere,” she said. “The question of immigration is the question of the world right now — every city, every state, every country.”
Wong also claimed — without citing evidence — that the new migrant shelter at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal was “basically a setup” for federal immigration officials to deport them.
“We’re going to fight against that,” she said. “This is everybody’s fight. I don’t know how long this will last.”
Talia Jane, 32
Jane, of Brooklyn, was fired from Yelp in 2016 after posting an open letter to the company’s chairman in which she complained about not making enough money as a customer service representative for its Eat24 food-delivery affiliate in San Francisco.
Jane later penned a column for The Post about the inevitable backlash — which included getting mocked by then-Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) in his book “The Vanishing American Adult” — but then repaid New York’s favorite tabloid by trashing its 2021 coverage of protesters accused of vandalism during a Black Lives Matter march.
Although she bills herself on Twitter as an “independent reporter covering policing, extremism, & activism all over,” Jane tweeted Wednesday night for “mutual aid groups” to contact her “if you’ve got anyone who can assist” storing the migrants’ belongings after their encampment was dismantled.
Jane was also called out Thursday by the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs over a tweet that criticized it for “accusing people practicing basic safety habits to avoid being harassed by bigots & racists (who have been heavily harassing this entire situation) of being ‘agitators.'”
“Are you an activist or journalist?” the agency tweeted at her. “It’s unclear to us.”
In an interview, Jane told The Post that the tweet was “not something I usually do.”
“Everything was really chaotic,” she said. “I wasn’t thinking. That doesn’t make me an activist.”
Sergio Tupac Uzurin, 37
Uzurin, of Queens, is a graduate of the city’s elite Stuyvesant High School, widely considered among the finest public schools in the nation, and earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Buffalo.
He runs his own video production company, Native NY Video, and posted a “Corporate Reel” on YouTube that features appearances by bigwigs including Miami real-estate mogul Roy Donahue Peebles.
But in his spare time, Uzurin — who’s also freelanced as a videographer for The Post — is a member of the immigrant-advocacy group NYC ICE Watch who’s publicly called for empty luxury apartments to be turned over to migrants.
Last month, Uzurin told 1010 WINS radio that the stretch of Manhattan’s 57th Street known as “Billionaires Row” was a good place to start.
“These super towers are 40% vacancy rate,” he said. “With their enormous apartments, they could house a good chunk of the migrants.”
Messages left for Uzurin late Thursday were not immediately returned.
Meryl Ranzer, 59
Ranzer, of Manhattan, is an adjunct instructor at the Fashion Institute of Technology whose resume includes designing “private label” apparel for luxury retailers Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue and Victoria’s Secret.
During the Watson Hotel standoff, the Kent State University grad described herself to The Post as an occasional nonprofit volunteer and said the migrants who refused to leave were “making their own decisions, and we are here to back them.”
But in a 2019 essay posted on the Medium website, Ranzer — who handles communication and social media for Respond Crisis Translation — seemingly suggested that guilt might be a motivating factor.
“White women have access to power that others may not have, there are ways to leverage our privilege while standing behind and beside those who are marginalized and taking direction from them,” she wrote.
And during an appearance on the “School for Mothers” podcast, Ranzer was even more explicit.
“For those of us white people who have privilege, we have to take a step back and shut the eff up,” she said.
Additional reporting by Jorge Fitz-Gibbon and Bruce Golding
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