When Republican presidential candidate and Jamaica Estates native Donald Trump recently made controversial comments about immigrants from Mexico, many responded with anger and disgust.
However, Ricardo Aca, an immigrant from Puebla, Mexico, who describes himself as not the kind of person to blow up and insult Trump on Twitter, had another idea.
Aca, a graduate of Grover Cleveland High School in Ridgewood and LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City, went to a soccer game shortly after Trump’s remarks and saw many holding furious signs directed at the reality star.
Taking a cue from his photography degree, Aca went to another soccer match and photographed people of all ages holding signs with phrases such as “I’m not a criminal” and “I’m not a rapist.”
He said photography gives him — and his subjects — a voice.
Aca teamed up with fellow Brooklyn resident Chase Whiteside, of New Left Media, and made a video telling his story.
The video, in which Aca says that he is an immigrant from Mexico and works as a busboy for a restaurant that leases in a Trump-owned building in Manhattan, was uploaded to YouTube on Aug. 17.
In it, he also declares he is not a criminal, drug dealer or a rapist.
The video had 20,000 views in a matter of hours and now has 350,000.
“It had posted at 11 a.m. and by 2 p.m. my job was already calling me,” Aca said, clarifying that he is authorized to work.
He said he’s received positive feedback overall. To those negative comments he’s received, he said, “they don’t really understand what it’s like to be an immigrant because your country doesn’t support you.”
Aca, who works in the photo lab at LaGuardia Community College, said growing up in New York City and diverse Queens has shaped his viewpoint.
The borough “helped me ultimately be more open-minded about other religions and other cultures,” he said.
Aca likened Trump to a brand, pushing the extremes for shock value.
“It’s kind of funny that we live in a place that’s so open-minded and then there’s someone like Trump who thinks this way,” Aca said.