Saturday marks Donald Trump’s 100th day in office as president, a day many Americans did not see coming. As of April 25, Trump has signed 26 executive orders, according to the White House website. Some of those orders deal with immigration, health care and jobs. Many of them have been controversial and polarizing. Supporters and protesters have rallied in cities throughout the country, including Gainesville.
On Inauguration Day, about 200 Gainesville residents gathered at City Hall denouncing President Trump as their leader, calling out his stances on gay rights and the proposed wall along the U.S. and Mexico border.
Over 1,000 people demonstrated in support of women’s rights in front of Hobby Lobby on W. Newberry Road in Gainesville during a local Women’s March coinciding with the Women’s March on Washington.
An pop-up rally formed on President’s Day at Bo Diddley Plaza, where attendees shared stories about how the Affordable Care Act made access to health care possible, despite pre-existing conditions.
At the University of Florida, Gators for a Sanctuary Campus works to protect students from having their immigration status revealed.
An Iranian student working towards her PhD, Guita Banan, co-hosted the Academics United rally in January protesting the President’s travel ban from seven predominantly muslim majority nations. She listened to the stories of students concerned about traveling abroad and sympathized with them; she doesn’t know when she will see her parents next.
“It has never been easy for us,” she said, referring to the difficulty of traveling abroad. Her parents had to wait six months for a visa the last time they wanted to visit their daughter in the U.S.
A transgender woman, Chloë Goldbach, previously ran for city commissioner to increase the visibility of transgender issues. She recently spoke at a town hall with Republican congressman Ted Yoho, asking him about his stance on transgender bathroom laws and protections for trans individuals, to which he responded, “there are female bathrooms, there’s male bathrooms and there’s others.”
Goldbach stressed that leaving transgender bathroom laws up to the states to decide “creates a huge feeling of a lack of safety for a lot of people.”
Kevin Lemos, a Trump supporter, knows the plights of immigrants coming to America. His parents immigrated to the United States from Brazil and Peru. Yet, the UF student advocates for stronger borders and supports building the border wall.
“As an immigrant, I don’t think that there’s any problem with the country securing its borders,” he said. His problem is with illegal immigrants and illegal goods flowing into the country.
Arnoldo Valle-Levinson, a UF professor in the Civil and Coastal Engineering Department who emigrated from Mexico legally when he married, canceled classes and gathered his students on the “Day Without Immigrants” to talk their experiences with hate speech, xenophobia and the travel bans.
Valle-Levinson said he fears that anything could happen to immigrants like himself, even though he is legal.
“People have that xenophobia, or have had that xenophobia, but now, Trump has sort of authorized it,” he said.
Steff Woodworth, an amputee who works at the Malcom Randall Veterans Affairs Medical Center, worries about the repeal of the ACA, which helped cover her pre-existing condition. Her insurance covers more repairs to her prosthetic legs than in the past, but as a member of Gator Amps, she can’t help but worry about coverage for fellow amputees under a new health care bill.
“My fear is more for any other person who has a preexisting condition,” she said, explaining that switching insurances after getting a limb amputated automatically puts you in the “preexisting condition” category.
A UF international student from Saudi Arabia, Nader Aljohani, dislikes American politics because he said “it divides people.” He said even though his country was on neither of the Muslim-majority travel ban lists, it is difficult for him to travel, even within the United States, and feel secure. If he were to forget his immigration papers or passport, he could potentially be deported.
Kyrstin Deffendall, a feminist and an ally of the LGBTQ+ community, renewed her birth control chip following Donald Trump’s inauguration to last the duration of his presidency.
“He got elected, and I made an appointment like the next day,” she said.
She fears that his administration will make contraceptives and other health care procedures more costly and difficult to obtain.
Elizabeth Pantaleon, a teacher at the English Language Institute and an Arabic speaker, had to comfort her worried students during a divisive presidential election season. She said she feels personally affected by President Trump’s words and actions because some of her best friends are concerned about their safety.
She tries to send messages of compassion to those feeling downtrodden.
“There are people that really do care for you and are happy that you’re here,” she says to people feeling marginalized and unwanted in America.
These eight North Central Florida residents have been discriminated against, are afraid to travel to their home countries, worry about health care coverage, illegal immigration, abortion and gay marriage.These are their stories, their fears, their experiences during the first 100 days.