In the most recent wave of demonstrations, roughly 500 people gathered on the steps of the New Haven Courthouse Sunday afternoon to protest President-elect Donald Trump.
Sunday’s event follows a Thursday rally organized by local activist group Unidad Latina en Acción. Across the nation, other communities have also been staging rallies to protest Trump since his Tuesday election.
At the protest, which was organized on Facebook by New Haven residents Mhaire Jenkins and Yasmin Thornton, attendees led chants such as “this is what democracy looks like,” “my body, my choice” and “say it loud, say it clear, people of color are welcome here.” Many protesters carried signs with messages such as “Love Trumps Hate,” “Not My President” and “Stronger Together.” About an hour into the protest, demonstrators marched along the border of the New Haven Green, still chanting.
Before the event, Jenkins said she and her fellow organizers are not affiliated with any political group. But they felt it was important to bring together those who were “shocked and disgusted” in light of the election’s outcome.
New Haven resident Tina Dodge, a member of the Connecticut Green Party who was involved with the Occupy New Haven movement, echoed Jenkins’ sentiments.
“We’re here to stand in solidarity with the other cities who are protesting and let the world know how we feel and let Mr. Trump know how we feel”, she said.
Mother and daughter Kristy and Zenaveve Harrington, who arrived early wearing embroidered “Nasty Woman” sweatshirts, said they attended the demonstration for similar reasons. Kristy Harrington added that she wanted to do whatever possible to ensure that her children would have protected reproductive rights and the freedom to marry whomever they choose. Trump, along with Vice President-elect Mike Pence, would jeopardize those wishes, she said.
Zenaveve Harrington, a high school sophomore, added that the two are from Colchester, which consists of mostly Republican voters. As a result of her town’s political demographics, she often hears “racial slurs, sexist slurs and anti-gay slurs” used at school. Very few people speak out in response, she said.
Yale students Alejandra Canales ’20, Emily Almendarez ’20, Larissa Nguyen ’20 and Andrew Gamzon ’20 attended the event together and led several chants. Canales, who is from Laredo, Texas, said if Trump were to succeed in enacting his immigration proposals, half of her town would be deported.
“I [saw] border patrol every day — it’s already so militarized,” she said. “They scan your entire body if you want to cross, and I don’t know what else they would even do at this point.”
Almendarez added that in addition to potentially harmful policies, Trump has disrespected “almost everyone” who identifies with an underrepresented group and that this behavior alienates him from a large percentage of the people who he must now represent as president.
Throughout the day, many drivers honked in response to the chants and bystanders cheered along with the marchers. But several others who watched, such as Milford residents Linda and Neil Schmidt, saw the protest as a futile effort.
“They have a right to protest, but I don’t understand,” Neil Schmidt said. “He’s in office now, so I think we should just support him now. Let’s move forward.”
According to Jose Ramos, who said he has attended peaceful demonstrations for decades, Sunday’s protest and the ones preceding it were crucial to maintaining a “fair democracy.” The events make the concerns of citizens visible to lawmakers, he said. Ramos added that he was once jailed with Robert Kennedy and several actors for protesting in Puerto Rico. He still seeks every opportunity to participate in demonstrations to publicly voice his personal convictions, and he went to Sunday’s event because he is concerned about Trump’s immigration policies.
“I think [protests] can affect the community, but they can’t stop,” Ramos said. “We have to keep going and we have to put pressure on those in charge right now.”
The Electoral College will vote on Dec. 19.