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Anti-Trump/Pence protest held in Loop
by Vern Hester

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On Nov. 4, Refuse Fascism hosted a protest rally and march in downtown Chicago calling for the removal of President Donald Trump and Vice President Michael Pence from office. The event also marked a kick-off of protest actions that will take place in 22 U.S. cities every day until the goal is met.

The rally and march started at Federal Plaza at the corner of Dearborn and Adams streets and—after a full program of speakers—attendees marched down State Street in the light rain and gathered at Trump Tower. This rally and protest did not focus on one group, but hosted many disenfranchised groups under one umbrella.

Reginald Sawyer, of The Chicago Two-Spirit Society, said in his speech, "We the people have the power, not him [meaning Trump]." Christina, a high school student said, "I could get by if I keep my mouth shut. I'm 5'2, I go to school, I'm white and unless I come out as a lesbian they won't bother me. But I can't stand by and watch my trans friend who is afraid to leave her house after the November electons. I have to get involved and protest." Dr. Edward Ward said, "When you kill Black children in the streets, it is a human-rights violation. When you destroy LGBTQ communities, it is a human-rights violation. When you destroy and rip apart Latino families and communities, it is a human-rights violation. We are not compromising on any of these issues."

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The Rev. Greg Greer of Freedom First International said, "What you are calling [an ideal] America is a myth. I would give my life for this cause." Jazz musician Juli Wood prefaced her message with Martin Niemoller's poem, "First They Came for the Socialists" while Noche Diaz of The Revolution Club elicited cheers when he said, "I want to make one thing clear: I am not a musician but when Trump and Pence are gone, I will sing and dance like never before."

Refuse Fascism spokesperson Tricey Morelli said after the event, "So many people are trying to wait for the upcoming elections, but in 2018 it will be too late. Fascism moves quickly and our freedoms of speech are being attacked routinely with this administration. The Trump administration is trying to normalize fascism and we are aiming to get those people waiting on the sidelines to get involved and refuse fascism on all levels."

With a police escort, the contingent—which included roughly 300 people—chanted, cheered and sang down a busy wet afternoon on State Street without incident. No arrests were made at the event.

Upcoming protest rallies that Refuse Fascism is sponsoring include a Protest for the Oppression of Women and LGBTQ People that will be held Thursday, Nov. 9, at the corner of State and Jackson streets.

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