Thousands ‘Unite’ In Passionate, But Peaceful Inauguration Day Protests

January 20, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Several thousand protesters converged on City Hall today to voice their outrage over the inauguration of President Donald Trump.

Two different groups — one starting in Boyle Heights and another near Staples Center — met up on Spring Street outside City Hall’s west entrance a little before 1 p.m.

“We organized this event to make sure to cross the bridge and protest Donald Trump,” Sol Marquez, an organizer with Centro CSO who marched with the Boyle Heights group, told City News Service.

“We are here to say that we won’t stand for his hatred.”

While marchers were vocal while chanting slogans like, “The people united must never be divided,” the protest was peaceful. Law enforcement presence at the scene was minimal, featuring several dozen officers and sheriff’s deputies in regular uniforms.

Officer Tony Im with the Los Angeles Police Department’s Media Relations Section said no arrests had taken place anywhere in the city related to an inauguration protest.

An officer on scene around 1 p.m. estimated that about 3,000 to 4,000 protesters were on Spring Street, but by 3 p.m. the size of the crowd had diminished, as had the size of the law enforcement presence. By 4:30 p.m. the protest was winding down and its organizers were packing up.

The number of protesters was below the 10,000 predicted Thursday by some organizers.

The morning rainstorm may have kept some at home, but not long after the protesters started to assemble the rain paused and the sun came out for a few minutes, causing many in the crowd to cheer.

The Boyle Heights protest began at Mariachi Plaza before moving to the Federal Building and then City Hall. The protest that began near Staples Center was organized by more than 90 groups and began at Olympic Boulevard and Figueroa Street.

A common point of anger for the protesters at City Hall was Trump’s stated proposals to begin mass deportations of immigrants living in the country illegally.

“We are working toward building a coalition that can defeat Trump’s agenda. That means defending immigrant rights,” Lorenzo Osterheim, a student at Pasadena City College and member of Students for a Democratic Society, told CNS.

But there were other issues on the minds of protesters as well, including the hacking campaign allegedly orchestrated by the Russian government to help Trump during the election, his refusal to release his tax returns, his views on the environment and the crude audio recording that caught him bragging about sexually assaulting women.

One protester held a sign that said, “I pay legitimate taxes, I want a legitimate president,” while another sign simply said, “Rapist.”

A large bus with a digital billboard on it that read “United Against Hate” was parked in front of the City Hall steps on Spring Street and a number of speakers addressed the crowd from the roof of the bus through a P.A. system.

“Trump will deregulate the little restrictions we have on Wall Street,” Carolyn Gomez of the Party for Socialism and Liberation told the crowd. “He will smash environmental regulations so that resources can be extracted and profited from by corporations while leaving the environment in an abysmal state.”

Skirmishes in Washington did turn violent today, with protesters breaking store windows and tear gas being used on some of them by police.

Other protests were held today across Los Angeles, including the “Caravan of Justice” in South Los Angeles that included several dozen groups, such as Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, Los Angeles Community Action Network and United Teachers Los Angeles.

The “Caravan of Justice” began at Leimert Park at 9 a.m., with about 100 protesters boarding three busses to travel to other sites around the city before returning to Leimert Park at 2 p.m., said Jasmyne Cannick, who is doing media promotions for the protest.

“The reason why these groups came together was because they did not feel like the protests that are taking place in downtown Los Angeles were being inclusive of people of color,” Cannick said.

The Los Angeles Unified School District declared today “Unity Day 2017” at its campuses  ”to encourage students to participate in the civic-engagement process and to promote schools as safe and appropriate venues for meaningful dialogue about the presidential election,” according to the

District officials said they developed lesson plans and activities for the day geared primarily to high school students, but available for students in all grades. The activities included “unity dances,” poster-making gatherings and “justice circles” to discuss the issues.

Trump Presidency Comes With Uncertainty – Let’s Hope that Changes

January 19, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

The country will be holding its collective breath Friday as Donald Trump is sworn in as the 45th president of the United States.

In keeping with tradition, the inauguration will be filled with pomp and circumstance, including a parade and grand balls and parties attended by many of the country’s elite and dignitaries from around the world.

But many across the country, fans and detractors alike, will spend this inauguration weekend waiting for the next shoe to drop in the constant turmoil and unrest that seems to follow our soon-to-be-president.

From all over the U.S., trains, cars, bused and planes will carry loads of people headed to the nation’s capital to take part in inauguration activities – which this time around will also include what some speculate will be an unprecedented number of protests.

Whether here at home or in Washington D.C., for many the next few days will be filled with anticipation or anxiety as the mystery of what a Donald Trump presidency means to regular people continues.

Mr. Trump has said he will continue to use Twitter to communicate with the American people, bypassing traditional and informative communication tools like press conferences with the media, which he calls “dishonest” and “very unfair” to him.

Because our next president has such a strong aversion to providing details on the myriad of proposals and presidential actions he says he will undertake to “make America great again,” it seems that the people he was elected to serve will have to ascertain his policies by putting together clues from his Tweets, 140 characters at a time.

We wonder if when Mr. Trump takes the Oath of Office, will he deliver a strong “I do,” or will he add a caveat?

And what about his acceptance speech? Will it put forth a vision for the country that will inspire Americans to leave behind the anti-immigrant, xenophobic, misogynist and anti-media rhetoric that took root during his campaign for the country’s highest office, bitterly dividing the country?

Or will he continue these attacks and continue to antagonize both our allies and our enemies?

And what about on Monday, his first official “business” day in office, will President Trump finally unveil details of his plan to replace his predecessor’s landmark health care plan, the Affordable Care Act?

Will Monday bring a start to his promise to deport the millions of people in the country without legal status, including the 750,000 Dreamers who were brought to the country illegally as children, have grown up here and call the U.S. their home?

While many were inspired by his campaign rhetoric promising tremendous change, his success will rely on the details that have so far evaded a public airing.

Republican lawmakers have already pushed through their plans to cut Medicaid by $14 billion, as Trump said he would do.

It is our hope that both the president and Republican Congress will think long and hard about how they proceed, and that they spend more time focusing on building than destroying.

We don’t believe that the millions of Americans who voted against Trump for president and even some who voted for him, are in the mood to accept the prospect of losing any of the rights, freedoms or  benefits they now enjoy.

We are holding our breath as we wait to hear what the new administration means when it says all American will have access to health care insurance, because they seem to be forgetting the ‘affordable’ part of that phrase.

Americans have many ways to influence the Senate and the House of Representatives, including writing their representatives and telling them they do not approve of their actions.

Over the next few days, people all over the country will take to the street to protest what they fear will be Trump following through on promises to dismantle many of the gains made during the last 8 years.

We urge them to voice their concerns loudly, as is their constitutional right and privilege, but to do it responsibly without tearing apart this place we call home.

Lastly, the fact is that mid-term elections take place in two years, and the most important thing any of us can do in preparation – whether you are a Trump supporter or not – is to stay informed and vote.

Republicans have a super majority in both the House and Senate, but that could change the next time we go to the polls.


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