This President’s Day, Americans across the country took civic engagement to heart and let their voices be heard. Through a movement organized on facebook entitled, “Not My President’s Day,” protests popped up in dozens of U.S. cities, inspired first by organizers in Los Angeles who had more than 4,000 people attend. The facebook event page for L.A.’s rally describes their motives well:
“Donald Trump is literally our President, but figuratively, he has attacked every value Californians embody and does not represent our interests. [...] He was voted in by a minority of the American public but governs as if there's no resistance. But there is -- and on February 20th, we will honor previous presidents by exercising our constitutional right to assemble and peacefully protest everything Donald Trump stands for.”
In Chicago, about 1,200 people gathered for their “Not My President’s Day” protest. In an effort to raise concerns over women’s rights and the immigration ban, protesters held signs that included “My body, My Choice” and “Jesus was a refugee.” What made Chicago’s protest particularly festive and energetic was the participation of a group of 25 local musicians called #SAHBRA, “Sousaphones Against Hate, Baritones Resisting Aggression.” This brass ensemble played songs such as the “Imperial March” (Darth Vader’s theme from Star Wars) to both make a statement on the President’s dictatorial leadership as well “lifting the spirits of protesters facing the Tower of Narcissus,” as noted on their facebook page.
— Betsy Rubin (@BetsyRubin) January 21, 2017
These events come at a critical time for civic engagement as this week is the first recess of the 115th Congress. This means that your congressmen will be leaving D.C. and returning to your home district to meet with constituents and get a pulse on the communities they were elected to represent. MoveOn.org has put together resources and materials for what they’ve named, “Resistance Recess.” Events and town halls will be happening all around the country and are a great way to make your voice heard. If you’re passionate about social justice, women’s rights, or the environment, this week is your chance to get involved and make an impact! Aside from MoveOn.org’s civic engagement resources, Indivisible has put together a practical guide to resistance that has gone viral recently. It was created by three young people who formerly worked as congressional staffers, so it provides an inside look at the best ways to make Congress listen. Take advantage of the momentum this week and join a community of peacemakers to create a civic engagement project today!