Hundreds marched in protest of President Donald J. Trump and his administration on Feb. 19, the eve of the one-month anniversary of Trump’s inauguration.
Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER) Chicago organized “Stop the Trump Agenda: Protest on One Month Anniversary” and partnered with Black Lives Matter Women of Faith, Chicago Student Union, Gay Liberation Network, Rise and Organize and Centro Autónomo, among other groups.
Several hundred people gathered at the corner of Wacker Drive and Wabash Avenue — in front of the Trump International Hotel and Tower — for an opening rally at noon with performances by the Sousaphones Against Hate, Baritones Resisting Aggression and spoken word by Ariel Atkins.
Protesters began their march at 1 p.m., peacefully walking in the streets with a police escort to Federal Plaza for a second rally.
Carolyn Ruff, co-founder of Black Lives Matter Women of Faith, said she spoke at the “Stop the Trump Agenda” protest to show support for all people.
“It was a rainbow protest and that’s what we are all about,” said Ruff. “We are not about dividing our country. We are coming together, and that’s a good thing.”
Ruff said Sunday’s protest was about the Trump administration’s actions in the White House.
“Trump is trying to send the Muslims back home. They are a part of this country,” Ruff said. “In order to get things done, you have to protest. If you sit at home and do nothing, that’s letting people know you are satisfied.”
Ruff said the goal of the protest was not only to get rid of Trump, but Mayor Rahm Emanuel too.
John Beacham, Coordinator of ANSWER Chicago, organizes protests and campaigns to fight social injustices.
Protests such as the “Stop the Trump Agenda” have an impact not only on the city, but globally, Beacham said.
“One of the most important things is to get people together and fight for people’s rights,” Beacham said. “It is the only tangible way that our voices can be brought together and heard.”
Beacham said there have been many recent protests and heavy opposition to Trump and his administration.
“Today was another strong showing of that resistance,” Beacham said “There is resistance everywhere.”
Beacham said as people become more accepting of all individuals, more are willing to fight for the rights of all.
“Young people are much more progressive and growing up in a progressive environment,” Beacham said. “Especially with the acceptance of LGBTQ people and willingness to fight for their rights. Black Lives Matter has awakened young people, so I think the ‘rainbow’ is only going to get stronger.”
Candice Choo-Kang, a Loyola student in the master of public health program, works with ANSWER, helping to organize and speak at events.
“We’re trying to support all oppressed peoples in their plight for liberation,” Choo-Kang said. “Whether it is organizing or sponsoring protests.”
The “Stop the Trump Agenda” protest was not Choo-Kang’s first. She said she attended others in the past while at Loyola.
“I went to a few Free Palestine ones with Loyola four years ago,” Choo-Kang said. “Recently, I got … involved after the election.”
Choo-Kang said her graduate work in the public health field is about fighting for health equity.
“After the election there was a lot of tension in the [public health department] itself because no one knew what was going to happen with health care, which is a big a proponent of public health work,” Choo-Kang said. “There’s a collective effervescence to fight in the department.”
Beacham, like others at the “Stop the Trump Agenda” protest, said the movement will move forward in its fight against Trump.
“We are going to continue to oppose the Trump agenda and build a massive movement to defeat it,” Beacham said.