With President-elect Donald Trump poised to take office in January, local and state officials should take action now to protect North Carolina's “vulnerable communities.”
That was the call from a diverse group of peaceful protesters Saturday, who gathered for a Charlotte Against Trump rally in Marshall Park. With attendees representing black, white, Muslim, immigrant and LGBTQ communities, speakers said their groups are the same ones targeted by Trump during his campaign.
“We believe Donald Trump when he says he's going to build a wall. We believe him when he says he's going to ban Muslims. We believe him when he talks about taking away a woman's right to choose,” said organizer Andrew Fede, one of the founders of Millennials for Hillary and president and founder of a group called Young Professionals and Leaders.
“After doing an entire year of tearing this country apart, and hate crime is on the rise, I think we know who Donald Trump is, and we're not going to be fooled by that.”
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Anti-Trump protests have cropped up in U.S. cities and internationally since his election on Nov. 8. Charlotte’s version on Saturday drew about 100 people and included speakers and a march from the park to the EpiCentre.
The “cries, fear, shock, disbelief and confusion” many have felt since the election is the result of not paying attention, speaker and Charlotte native Pamela Melissa Thomas said.
“Many residents of Charlotte and North Carolina closed their eyes to the racism that we faced in our state,” she said.
“Wake up...It’s no longer, ‘if we ignore it, it will go away.’ ”
Charlotte attorney Kimberly Owens also urged “reaching out across the aisle” and talking to people who think differently.
“There’s a whole lot of people who saw what they wanted in him,” Owens said “We don’t know that if we close ourselves off.”