Over 200 people gathered at the Rhode Island State House Saturday afternoon as part of Indivisible Rhode Island‘s “No president is above the law” rally. Similar events were held across the country, organized by Indivisible, MoveOn.org and/or March For Truth. The Rhode Island rally featured speakers from various Rhode Island political groups and was emceed by Kamila Barzykowski. Steven Belaus provided music.
Organizers saw the event as a reminder to President Donald Trump to not interfere in Special Counsel Robert Mueller‘s Russia/Trump investigation and as an objection to an alarming “shift away from democratic ideals [and] towards the Trump agenda of authoritarianism, corruption and racism.” But the event touched upon many of the evils of the present administration.
In addition to Indivisible Rhode Island the event was supported locally by Resist Hate Rhode Island, The Woman Project, the Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence and FLAG Rhode Island.
Here’s the video:
“I have little to no faith that our current Republican congress will do their constitutional duty to impeach and then convict the monster,” said Philip Graham of Indivisible Rhode Island. “And that’s where our 2018 long term elections come in. Here’s where we have our best shot of proving that Donald Trump is not above the law.”
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“Thank goodness for Tarana Burke, who’s #MeToo hashtag revealed the epidemic proportions of sexual assault and harassment endured by women worldwide,” said organizer Shanna Wells of the Rhode Island Women’s March. “Here in thee United States one in five women will be raped at some point in her life. One in three has been abused by an intimate partner… And this is before Donald Trump became President. But he isn’t trying to reduce those statistics. He’s trying to increase them…”
“In a fight this important, we’ve got to be proactive. You can’t wait until after the Reichstag Fire has already happened; by then it’s too late,” said Rhode Island State Representative Aaron Regunberg (Democrat, District 4, Providence). “When you have an administration that is challenging and threatening democratic institutions, that is breaking democratic norms, it is our responsibility to step up and send a message that we are prepared to protect our republic…”
Regunberg is running for Lieutenant Governor of Rhode Island.
“…last September, the administration terminated DACA [Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals]. And here in Rhode Island, the lives of our family members, our neighbors, and our co-workers are in jeopardy as a demagogic administration tears apart at the fabric of our community,” said DREAMer Rodrigo Pimentel. “Week after week, ICE [United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement] terrorizes our communities, they detain and deport DREAMers, and they take away control of our own bodies. Last October, the administration attempted an untested method of reversing an abortion on an undocumented teenager — without her consent.”
Steven Belaus sings “Time to Change”
“The Reproductive Health Care Act will protect Rhode Islander’s reproductive rights by insuring that their reproductive freedoms remain safe and legal regardless of what happens to Roe v Wade on a Federal level,” said Kathleen Costa of The Woman Project. “To help us in this fight you can come back here Wednesday at 3:30pm and join us inside the State House…”
“America is based on one simple, radical and revolutionary idea: One person, one vote,” said John Marion, executive director of Common Cause Rhode Island. “It’s supposed to be ‘We the People’ not ‘We the Twitter trolls…”
The National Rifle Association (NRA), said Kat Kerwin, communications director for the Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence, “is a group currently under investigation or possibly funneling dark money from Russia to the Trump campaign. And let’s remember the NRA gave Trump a remarkable $30 million for his bid for president.”
Kerwin is running for Providence City Council in Ward 12.
“The Trump Administration will be here in Providence, not the President thankfully, but the Interior Department is holding a public meeting at the Marriott on Orms Street,” noted Justin Boyan of Climate Action Rhode Island. “So Trump, in his wisdom, has proposed opening up the entire coast of our country to offshore oil drilling…”
Boos from the crowd.
“It’s absurd. Insane,” continued Boyan.
The Interior Department’s public meeting, really a sales show to convince the public that offshore drilling is a terrific idea, will be countered with a real public meeting, where the peeople’s voices will be heard, starting at 5pm at the Marriott. Everyone is encouraged to be there.
The Reverend Doctor Donald Anderson, executive minister of the Rhode Island State Council of Churches gave a fiery speech, encouraging the crowd to yell, “Trump!” every time he asked, “Who’s not above the law?”
“We have just over eight months to dismantle this anti-American administration,” said Anderson. “Begin by taking down his power base in Washington, in the House and the Senate in November of 2018.
“And the make sure in 2018 that we put people in that house,” continued Anderson, pointing to the State House behind him, “that hold to the values that we claim today, and haven’t drunk the Trump Kool-Aid.”
Steven Belaus sang a concluding song.
[Thanks to Katherine Ahlquist, Judy Ortman and Charles Ortman for contributing to this piece.]
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