What’s the last piece of news you watched, read, or heard that bore no mention or ties to the January 20th inauguration of President Donald Trump? From the #J20 demonstrations to the Women’s March on Washington, perhaps the most historic inauguration in our nation’s history has been met by a culmination of our most historic demonstration of political will and activism (excluding, of course, the election of 1860 when a civil war broke out and eleven states seceded from the country, but I digress).
As Aziz Ansari mentioned in his SNL monologue this past weekend, an entire gender across the world protested his presidency on Saturday, coupled by countless other rallies, demonstrations and events held here in the States and beyond.
Many believe that Trump’s dangerous rhetoric threatens to dismantle the social justice and equality that many have been fighting for their entire lifetimes. However, the protests of this past weekend demonstrated that Americans will continue to fight for such equalities, perhaps now harder than ever.
Many of the protests that occurred nationwide failed to answer is the question of how we will fight when the protest ends, when we go to work and school tomorrow, when our daily lives and schedules resume and Donald Trump is still our Commander-in-Chief.
In Bloomington this past Friday, a group of activists set out to solve that problem with “Inaugurate the Revolution”, a community-wide day of protest, teach-ins, rallies, and the rejection of the Trump administration’s rhetoric and campaign promises. They demanded a revolution that would dismantle systems of oppression, a revolution that would embody a “radical act of love”, and a revolution that would fight, no matter the cost, to insure no one is left behind.
This “radical love” was displayed from the moment the day began, as individuals of all ages and walks of life were welcomed and encouraged to join a new community of activists. The community, as the organizers expressed, is rooted in both a compassion for one’s fellow neighbor, and a willingness to fight against anyone who impedes on his or her rights.
Workshops were performed throughout the day that served to not only educate attendees about growing problems in our community, but to outline the necessary steps to reverse these trends moving forward. Topics and activities ranged from popular activist efforts to important less publicized movements, with teach-ins titled: “Zones to Defend: Anarchist Territories” and “Moving Beyond Capitalism”. The activities allowed the community to learn from one another and build a mutual respect of other’s opinions and ideologies in a supportive environment.
Inspired, engaged and educated, attendees of the teach-ins and other activities gathered together at the Bloomington courthouse square, eager to demonstrate that this new community is not one that would be ignored. Protestors marched around the downtown Bloomington square and halted traffic and to proclaim that, under their watch, there will be, “No Trump, no KKK, no Fascist USA!”
The demonstration culminated at the Buskirk-Chumley theatre, where the protestors gathered together to watch performers and speakers, as well as to celebrate a new era of activism. Speakers stressed that January 20th will not only inaugurate a new President, but will also ignite a passion to protect those left vulnerable by the upcoming administration, and fight for change in our political, social and cultural values here in Bloomington and beyond. Hundreds roared in applause as balloons and a street-parade band filled the room while Stanley Njuguna of Students for a Democratic Society proclaimed, “The revolution begins now.”