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We The People March RI



“We are going to take our country back in 2020,” said Organizer Lauren Pothier. “We’re going to do this together.”

Just over 100 people rallied at the Rhode Island State House on Saturday in solidarity with marches happening across the country and the national We the People March in Washington DC.

The national We the People March was organized by activists and author Amy Siskind, president of The New Agenda, and Karen McRae, interim and first female CEO of CBMOA. Here in Rhode Island the organizer was Lauren Pothier. Providence was the first city to announce a solidarity march.

“When I heard about the event, the We The People March, I jumped at the chance to organize a sister rally here in Rhode Island,” said Pothier. “If you are like me, living through this administration, and even before, has been hard. I found myself feeling lost and helpless reading the news, crying my eyes out from frustration, coming home from protests, and waking up in the middle of the night from nightmares. It’s hard. But we know that it is necessary work.

“We can’t stop reading the news. We can’t stop going to these protests. We cannot stop filling our minds with the images of these children being separated from their parents, the lives lost to gun violence, and the white supremacy, homophobia, sexism and all the hatred that has run rampant in our country.”

“People’s stories are different from one immigrant to another,” said Miguel Santos who immigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic as a youth. “But I lived at a time when it was normal to get your citizen status. But now it’s harder to be a citizen, here in America. There is a stigma…”

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Pothier led the audience in song:

“I am one of many young people across the nation who’s been swept up by the rapid growth of civic engagement, where hundreds of thousands of youth are finding a way to bring their voices to the front of the American conversation,” said Tara Monastesse, a Junior at Tollgate High School in Warwick, and a member of the High School Democrats of Rhode Island.

“We The People is not just a march, but a movement,” said Suraj Sait, a senior at East Greenwich High School and a member of both the High School Democrats of Rhode Island and the Sunrise Movement. Sait had spoken the day before at the State House as part of the Climate Strike. “It is a group of citizens concerned about the state of Democracy within our nation, marching for change…”

Marion Marrow gave a quick plug for the George Wiley Center:

“Besides being undocumented and unafraid, I am mad as hell,” said Rodrigo Pimentel, a DACA recipient. “Why am I mad? Well, after the atrocities committed after World War II, we said this should never again happen to anyone. And yet, it is…”

“Yesterday was a very powerful day,” said Kendra Anderson, from Climate Action Rhode Island, one of the groups that helped organize the Climate Strike the day before. “One thousand students, young adults and allies led a Climate Strike with a march through the streets of Providence, disrupting business as usual…”

“It’s been over ten years now since the tragedy of Citizens United,” said Bobbie Hunger from Move to Amend RI. “This idea, that corporations, that exist only to make a profit, now have the same rights as living, breathing human beings is chilling…”

“Over the past few years I have traveled to every one of the fifty United States,” said Kevin Patrick Martin, an actor on tour with The Jersey Boys. “I have seen more of our country during this presidency alone, than most people see in an entire lifetime. That has been thrilling, and at times unnerving. In 28 of these states, a person searching for housing can be discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation or their gender identity. There is no federal law against such discrimination in the United States…”

“I’m really no on special, just another transwoman and activist in your community,” Arden Leithead. “The far right is no longer fighting for state rights or personal responsibility, but enforcing a completely arbitrary dogma to retain their place at the top of the food chain…”

Music was provided by the Extraordinary Rendition Band (ERB).

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Steve Ahlquist is a frontline reporter in Rhode Island. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for half a decade. Uprise RI is his new project, and he's doing all he can to make it essential reading.

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