Deep in one of the darkest corners of Bushwick, there is a coven of witches doing their damnedest to put a number of hexes on Donald Trump. The Brooklyn-based brujas (Spanish for "witches") have been casting spells and curses on the Republican frontrunner in an act of supernatural protest of his gross comments about Mexican-Americans.
Yeni Sleidi, who first decided to convene with her fellow brujas to rally against Trump, was inspired by the Santeria that she grew up watching her mother practice.
"I’ve always thought of her as a good witch," she said of her mother's belief in Santeria to The Village Voice. "But I guess she’s had a lot of enemies throughout her life."
As a religion, Santeria is most easily understood as a blend of Yoruba mythology from West Africa, Roman Catholicism from the Spanish empire, and a number of mystical practices from indigenous American cultures. Of the many aspects that make up Santeria, though, the one most people are familiar with involves casting spells and praying to various orishas for divine intervention in Earthly affairs.
Sleidi grew up watching her mother performing freezing hexes on her enemies and so she figured, why not turn to Santeria to deal with a much larger, more widespread problem, like Trump's campaign?
“[My mother and I] never really discuss politics, but I remembered asking her what she thought about Marco Rubio when he announced that he was running [for president]," Sleidi told The Village Voice. "She thought that he was an asshole. So I was curious to know what she thought about Trump, and she also thinks that he’s an asshole.”
Sleidi and her fellow practitioners aren't just divining Trump's future or casting hair-loss hexes and silencing spells for the sheer fun of it. Theirs is a magic rooted in the belief that Trump's morally wrong for his flat-out anti-Mexican racism that they believe extends to all Latinos.
Sleidi, who herself is Cuban by birth and a legal citizen, only wants Trump to show the people she identifies with the respect that they deserve. Her spells, she explained to the Voice, are meant to help, not harm.
“I was a little anxious that bad things would start happening to him and then people would start to blame me," she said. “I mean, the guy is an idiot and he’s offensive and racist, but I don’t want him to die."