WASHINGTON, DC – Tens of thousands held spaces along the inaugural parade route, along the entrances to the inauguration, and at Union Station sending messages of commitment to defend First Amendment rights, women’s rights, immigrant rights, religious freedom, environmental protections, and other freedoms that a President Trump once threatened in campaign speeches. His Cabinet picks have suggested a follow-through with campaign promises.
Turning out to oppose those promises were groups such as the Answer Coalition, CodePink, and the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance (NCNR). The NCNR wrote an open letter to President Trump and staged a die-in outside of the inauguration. Police informed the group that there would be no arrests of nonviolent demonstrators.
The letter which was also handed out to passersby urged the president to “commit to a program which ends US militarism, income inequality, and climate chaos.”
NCNR called for and end to drone warfare citing its illegality under international law, the violation of civil protections to due process, and the illegality of the assassinations of innocent people, especially children. The group has long called attention the disproportionate numbers of innocent persons who are killed by drones over targets who also are not provided due process.
The group criticized the influence of the fossil fuel and arms industries, and the financial and corporate industries. NCNR called for four starting points from a Trump administration that could begin an initial sense of hope in the people:
- The end of all drone warfare.
- The establishment of a living wage for all workers
- The abolition of all nuclear weapons
- An international treaty to reverse climate change.
Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO) held their banner in opposition to racism, misogyny, and xenophobia, “We believe in a United States that is stronger and better than that.” A representative from North Carolina held one end of the banner and told The Nation Report of her fears coming from the next four years, “I’ve never supported the system that we have, but I’ve also never been as scared as I am with a president like Trump because I believe that he’s going to go in and destroy any progress that we’ve had up to this point, launching us back 50-60 years into the past.” Worrying most to the FRSO are Trump supporters who have felt the freedom to bully, “I work with high school students who have become scared to be in school, that are openly being bullied.” Members of the Muslim community in North Carolina have been the targets of “backlash” from the election of Trump, “They’re getting death threats and things like that, and it’s now considered OK and that’s really devastating to me.”
J20 demonstrations outside of Union Station included Margaret Kimberly of the Black Agenda Report, Larry Holmes first Secretary of the Workers World Party, Myka Johnson, transfem organizer with Charlotte Uprising Jail Solidarity, Alx Griffith , gender nonconforming trans Latinx organizer, and Reverend CD Witherspoon, of Baltimore People’s Power Assembly.
Kimberly told the crowd that a “D” behind the name of a politician, used to mean that they were her representative before she got smart, “Trump is not my president, but neither is the guy who is leaving the White House today. If you care about ending war, ending mass incarceration, stopping the neoliberal scheme, unfortunately, you never get a president.” Kimberly criticized Democrats for working with Republicans to reform Obamacare instead of fighting for universal healthcare, “which is what they should have fought for in the first place.” She compared Democrats to Republicans in “being part of the war machine” and for aligning with Republicans on social justice issues, “But here we are today together knowing that we must be in solidarity with each other, that we must oppose aggression, imperialism, neoliberal schemes, police murder, and mass incarceration.”
Holmes also rejected the Democratic Party as an alternative to Trump, “We’re not interested in going to testify at a hearing. Maybe we’ll break up a hearing. The Democratic Party, which is the capitalism party, is responsible for Trump.”
Alx Griffith has been instrumental in fighting the high profile “bathroom bills” in North Carolina and for other LGBTQ rights in the state, “This is a revolution. We are going to take it down.”
Myka Johnson identifies as Black and trans, “As a transfem, we face deeper levels of aggression, deeper levels of oppression. What have you done for a black transfem staying alive? What are you doing to protect them? What are you doing to sustain us while we fight because we are behind every movement? There are still people who are going to face going to jail. There are still going to be people who will be deported. There are still people who are going to face being shot and murdered. There are still people who are going to be homeless” Johnson encouraged the white community to “put action behind those words” when showing up to march alongside other marginalized communities.