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Demonstrators rally against Trump downtown

Jule Pattison-Gordon
Demonstrators rally against Trump downtown
Demonstrators march in the Boston People's Inaguration

Just hours after Donald Trump took the oath of office, hundreds of Bostonians gathered downtown to pledge to protect each others’ rights, no matter what happens in D.C. The event drew a broad coalition of activists from groups dedicated to protecting causes such as the rights of women, the homeless, members of the LGBTQ community, Muslims and people of color as well as the environment. Members came to march, and for many, pledge mutual support.

“It’s particularly important for the communities most affected and targeted — people of color, immigrants, Muslims, queer/trans people and women — to be heard,” said Lydia Lowe of the Chinese Progressive Association, as activists gathered at Dewey Square.

Participants in the Boston’ People’s Inauguration started in Dewey Square and filled downtown streets as they proceeded to the Boston Common, chanting in Spanish, English and Chinese. The chants denounced Trump on a myriad of fronts, ranging from his attacks on immigrants and Muslims to his nomination of inexperienced, wealthy individuals to lead key federal departments.

“The slogan is, ‘Rise, Resists and Protect’ against racism, colonialism, fascism, hatred against women — all things we’ve seen from this president,” Black Lives Matter’s Martin Henson told the Banner.

Many causes of alarm

Speakers criticized Trump’s nomination of Steve Mnuchin, formerly of Goldman Sachs, as secretary of the treasury and of Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon Mobile, as secretary of state.

“Instead of draining the swamp, he has made those people his closets allies,” said a member of Alternatives for Community and Environment.

Many also decried the pick of Jeff Session — who comes with a long list of racism accusations to his name, including from many civil rights groups — and Stephen Bannon, who has been widely accused of racism, misogyny, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.

A Right to the City member denounced HUD secretary pick Ben Carson for his lack of experience and his lack of belief in the mission of his agency.

“He has zero experience and zero expertise,” the Right to the City member said, noting as well that Carson, Trump’s choice to head an organization with many programs designed to help low-income people improve their situation, has said he believes poverty is a choice.

New allies

While some of the organizations have worked together in the past, the day introduced a new era of broader networking and cooperation, Lowe said.

Some attendees noted that the organizations’ various causes naturally intertwine.

Nicole Sullivan of Boston Feminists for Liberation said her organization would work to incorporate other justice group’s focus issues into their agenda — for instance, advocacy around access to housing and health care. While the feminist group is focused on women’s rights, when women have their other basic needs met, they are better able to take advantage of those rights, she said.

“The [political] right can target people without resources,” Sullivan told the Banner. “We need people to have housing, health care [and other necessities.]”

Sullivan’s group is launching a campaign against Crisis Pregnancy Centers, which she says provide misleading and often inaccurate information about abortion and target low-income women of color in their advertising.

Susan Chang, a member of ACE, came to advocate for fighting climate change. She said at the demonstration that the demonstration’s strong turnout gave her hope.

“I feel better knowing there are so many people who also are not happy about what’s happened and will do what they can to make change,” she told the Banner.