Protests continue throughout Philadelphia in response to Trump election
Starting Wednesday protests erupted throughout Philadelphia in reaction to Donald Trump becoming President-elect of the United States. The first protest was organized by the Philadelphia Socialist Alternative via a Facebook group that rapidly spread throughout the city. The protest started from Thomas Paine Plaza and went up to Temple’s campus and throughout the city.
The protest, mainly comprised of college students, featured a large gathering of students coming together for a selection of causes they felt would suffer due to the election of Donald Trump as President. “If we can’t come together and see that no matter who we vote for, whether Democratic or Republican, the same shit is going to happen, we won’t get anywhere,” one organizer said in the beginning of the protest.
“We’re here today because we are scared. We’re scared for ourselves, we’re scared for each other, we’re scared as women, and queer, and trans people,” said Aly Spengler, one of the protest organizers. The fear she mentioned seemed to be common amongst protest goers, many of whom were afraid not only of the lack of progress they may see under a Trump presidency but also the loss of rights they would face, especially with a Republican house and senate.
And their fears are not unwarranted, Trump has stated that once in office, he would take several steps to repeal the rights of the groups Spengler mentioned. One large move being the initiative to overturn the pivotal case that provides women with the right to an abortion, Roe vs Wade would be overturned during his presidency. In addition, Trump and Mike Pence, his vice presidential candidate, have stated one of their first tasks would be to cut LGBT protection laws, including Obama’s initiative to provide accommodations in schools for trans students.
Though these groups are facing what could be a completely different way of life, some feel they are going to lose access to the very programs they need to survive. “”I’m not getting healthcare right now. I was going to go on Obamacare but I won’t be able to within the next couple months. I can’t wait four years. I have friends on food stamps and Donald Trump wants to take them away,” said Hannah, a 19 year old protest attendee and first-time voter.
But even amongst this knowledge and continued commitment to protest, some protesters voiced concerns there may not be any continued action. “What I would like to see going forward, is some way for us to all talk. You know, just talk about the issues and see if there’s anything we can do to make change. Donald Trump may not be able to make smart decisions, but I think together we can,” Hannah stated.
Protests have continued every day since, with different groups and different interests taking turns at the mic. On Thursday, women’s issues were spotlighted in a vigil whose organizers identified themselves as those behind the #GOPHandsOffMe hashtag in their Facebook event description. On Friday, a protest whose organizers included veterans of the #BlackLivesMatter movement marched to from City Hall to Independence Mall and then north up Broad Street. On Saturday, there was a “Rally for Love” at Friends of Julian Abele Park, and on Sunday, a whole host of actions, including an Immigrant Rights action by Juntos in the morning, a general rally at City Hall in the afternoon, an emergency meeting of Reclaim Philadelphia (a movement run by supporters of Bernie Sanders) and a concert and poetry reading called P R O T E S T F E S T at Pilam in West Philly whose proceeds were donated to the ACLU.
This week, the momentum continues with protests and community meetings held every day. Information as to specific locations and causes can be found on social media.