On November 13, 2016, just five days after our country elected a multibillion-dollar failed businessman kept afloat by Wall Street who is a bigoted, sexist, racist, disabled hating, Veteran shaming narcissist who essentially hates everyone who doesn’t feed his ego, I was marching from my neighborhood — historic Oak Park, once home to Sacramento’s Black Panther Party — with hundreds of other folks in my town.
We were marching because we were angry. We felt betrayed by a supposedly democratic process in which we felt our voices were not heard. We were, and still are, hurt, afraid and furious that our country is now under the leadership of someone who, while campaigning, made promises to attack our families, friends, neighbors and communities.
Earlier in the day on Facebook, I had copy+paste posted a list of arguments outlining the importance of public action and protest. The ensuing reaction that I received reaffirmed that, indeed, an overwhelming number of modern-day Americans cannot fathom being inconvenienced and cannot comprehend that direct action is direct democracy — it is the most effective method of bringing the voices of the unheard together to affect change within our political system.
Upon receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012, Dolores Huerta, whose more than half-century long social justice resume reads like the stuff of legends within the farmworker, Latinx and LGBTQ communities, stated:
“The great social justice changes in our country have happened when people came together, organized, and took direct action. It is this right that sustains and nurtures our democracy today. The civil rights movement, the labor movement, the women’s movement, and the equality movement for our LGBT brothers and sisters are all manifestations of these rights.”
In 1988, Huerta, at 58, was beaten by San Francisco police — to the point her spleen had to be surgically removed — while at a protest against the campaign policies of then Vice President George H. W. Bush.
It is important to understand that “protests” and other forms of direct action do serve the important role of raising awareness to an issue or set of issues. But these actions are also an important space where the people ready to do the work to prevent Trump from harming our communities come together to envision a better future. Building the “wall” called for by Gov. Jerry Brown to keep Trump’s harmful policies out will not come from elected officials, but from well-organized communities prepared to not only fight to resist, but also ready to move forward to build a movement to heal the existing divides within our communities.
This website and the space is dedicated to the coming together of voices and a unified expression of protest. On January 20, 2017, Donald Trump begins his tenure as “Leader of the Free World.” If reading those words made the bile in your stomach turn just as much as mine did writing them, watch this space for opportunities to get involved. Now is the time to express our anger, but soon we must move.
So, in conclusion, fuck Donald Trump and fuck all of the political maneuvering that led to this sad reality. Oh, and Happy New Year.
Now let’s get together, organize, and make that racist, misogynistic Cheeto just as irrelevant as he should’ve been in the early ’90s when he first filed for bankruptcy — or the second, third — or even the fourth time. (Possibly a fifth in the near future!)
— Russell Rawlings, Oak Park resident