As Donald Trump was sworn into office as the 45th president of the United States Friday afternoon, the country erupted in anti-Trump sentiments. Gainesville was one such city to take part in these protests. Local organizations, University of Florida students and community members participated in various demonstrations to express their opposition – and support – of the new commander in chief.
One such movement was the UF Student Walkout, an anti-Trump march that began on campus, traveled down University Avenue and concluded at City Hall. There the “People’s Inauguration”, a rally organized by Gainesville City of Resistance was taking place. Starting at noon, the event carried throughout the day into the evening and featured dozens of speakers, performers, local organizations and protesters. The event not only served as a platform for anti-Trump protests, but was a resistance movement calling for citizens to take action in order to enact equality, acceptance, community and peace.
Susan Shapiro (right) was one of dozens of guests to express opposition to Trump through peaceful protest. “I’m standing up for those who did not vote for Trump,” she said. “We are the majority.” (Cindy Lu/WUFT News)
DeeDee Barrito marches through Plaza of the Americas with a sign supporting female rights and gender equality during Friday’s student walkout at the University of Florida. (Cindy Lu/WUFT News)
Keynote speaker Ibram Kendi was one of the last to speak at the event. Kendi received the National Book Award for “Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America.” In his address, Kendi called for hope. “In order for you and I to bring about change, we have to believe change is possible,” he said. “If you do not believe it is possible, then you’re not even going to try.” (Cindy Lu/WUFT News)
As part of the event, guests were encouraged to sign a pledge of action, writing down things they will do within the upcoming year to better the community. Answers ranged from being more active in local politics to giving more support to community organizations to promoting more kindness. To conclude the “People’s Inauguration,” the pledges were hung up on the doors of city hall, marking the promise to take action. Annie Washington is pictured above reading through the posters. (Cindy Lu/WUFT News)
The “People’s Inauguration” attracted people from various demographics. Guests ranged in race, gender and age. Lucas Walters (right) is a middle school student who attended to show his support for the anti-Trump cause. (Cindy Lu/WUFT News)
Darsa Donelan took on a different approach to protesting. Dressed up as a Borg, an alien race from the Star Trek series, Donelan wanted to promote the idea that resistance is not futile, as the Borgs are known for saying. “I want to resist the hatred that is in American right now,” she said. “One of the important things from Star Trek for me is the equality of all people.” (Cindy Lu/WUFT News)
While the majority of those in attendance were anti-Trump, several Trump supporters came to promote their stance as well. Brett Jaffe (right) attended to protest the “People’s Inauguration” and Gainesville City of Resistance, the organization behind the event. “Anybody who is pro-Trump or Republican,” he said, “needs to know that there are people out here… that support them.” (Cindy Lu/WUFT News)
The “People’s Inauguration” featured several guest speakers and performers, including Shelly Wilson, senior associate minister of the United Church of Gainesville. Wilson’s speech focused on the importance of accepting people of all religions and beliefs to create a unified community. (Cindy Lu/WUFT News)
Another organization at the event was the Dream Defenders, a statewide black and brown youth organization. The group focuses on issues relating to mass incarceration, the school to prison pipeline and ending police brutality. (Cindy Lu/WUFT News)
Several organizations attended the “People’s Inauguration” at City Hall with fliers promoting their message against Trump. The Gainesville chapter of the National Women’s Liberation (NWL) promoted their two-day strike in accordance with the Women’s March on Washington. Kendra Vincent (center), an organizer for the NWL, has been involved with the organization for 7 years. “Our organization is for women who want to fight against male supremacy,” she said. According to Vincent, the Women’s Strike, taking place Saturday, will protest Trump, his vice president Mike Pence and anyone who wants to take away peoples’ rights. (Cindy Lu/WUFT News)
Rabbi David Kaiman from Congregation B’nai Israel also spoke on the importance of justice and peace. Leading the crowd in an interfaith prayer, Kaiman called for integrity, love, companionship and friendship among the diversity of faiths and peoples that exist. (Cindy Lu/WUFT News)