Anti-Obama rally triggered by pricey political fundraiser in Harlem

JUAN ESPINAL AND W.A.T.E.R. 17 | 5/25/2011, 9:23 a.m.

Fellow student Alia Cisneros said, "Because he's the first Black president of the United States, it's important for him to be in Harlem."

Ruiz concluded, "It opened up my eyes to know that African-Americans can be higher than a lawyer or a doctor...they can be president of America!...No, he's not being a hypocrite. It takes nations like us, Spain, all of us to help out Libya's people. So that's what he's trying to do."

But Obama's $30,000 a plate meal to help raise money for the Democratic National Committee was regarded by many at the rally as a slap in the face.

"Barack Obama hasn't done anything for Harlem. Now a bunch of politicians are dining on $30,000 meals while 30,000 New Yorkers would kill for a cracker?" asked Ms. Walker, a Bronx grandmother. "I don't even want to know what's on that plate."

The rally culminated in a small march over half a block, ending across the street from the Studio Museum where a private reception for the fundraiser was to be held. The protestors jeered and berated the mostly white crowd waiting outside the building for disrespecting Harlem in this way.

Before Obama arrived at the reception and saw the protest, the group was dispersed by the NYPD in an effort to clear the street for his arrival.