Inauguration 2017

Protesters pack downtown Syracuse in march against Donald Trump

Caroline Colvin | Senior Staff Writer

According to event organizers, an estimated 2,000 people came together for a protest against President Donald Trump in downtown Syracuse this morning on the lawn of the James M. Hanley Federal Building.

A sea of colorful signs and pink hats accompanied amplified messages of solidarity and resistance on the lawn of the James M. Hanley Federal Building in downtown Syracuse on Saturday.

Protesters of all ages, races and genders were gathered there as part of the peaceful protest, “Syracuse in Solidarity,” put on by New Feminists for Justice. Organizers said they estimated 2,000 people came out for the event.

The rally was one of 673 registered “sister marches” that protested in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington, which was a large-scale peaceful demonstration held against President Donald Trump in the nation’s capital today. There were an estimated 3,447,000 sister marchers around the world as of 6:30 p.m. Saturday, according to the Women’s March’s official website.

The protests took place the day following Trump’s inauguration, with the intention of sending a message to the 45th president of the United States on his first day in office, per the group’s website.

“We will not be silenced. We will not back down,” said Donna Moore, a co-founder of New Feminists for Justice, at the protest in Syracuse.

As with the Women’s March, the organizers of “Syracuse in Solidarity” warned attendees ahead of time to refrain from violence. Although there was a sizable “Right to Life” gathering near the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science and Technology a few blocks away, neither side engaged each other.

While primarily women organized the “sister march” protest, the speakers at the event represented a array of groups and people. Representatives from Planned Parenthood of CWNY, the Sierra Club, Black Lives Matter Syracuse and the Onondaga Nation all addressed issues that affect them.

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Stacy Fernández | Assistant Features Editor

Stephanie Phillips, the speaker from Planned Parenthood of CWNY, received one of the most enthusiastic responses from the crowd. She touched specifically on the election and “reproductive justice,” as well as violence toward the African-American community.

The speaker for Black Lives Matter Syracuse, Nikeeta Slade, spoke directly after Phillips. She was one of the most passionate speakers of the hour and discussed local issues as well as national ones.

“Donald Trump is disgusting,” Slade said. “But we have to pay attention to what’s happening locally because there are little Trumps here in Syracuse.”

Slade also wore a “Free Palestine” shirt and said she wanted liberation for all communities, not only for African-Americans.

Betty Lyons, a member of the Snipe Clan of the Onondaga Nation, discussed how her culture has deep ties with the issues discussed at the demonstration.

“The birthplace of democracy is right here,” she said, referring to the origins of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy.

Lyons said she stood with her “brothers and sisters” at Standing Rock and that someone needed to be a voice for “Mother Earth.”

The crowd cheered when she said her son didn’t understand how someone could be president who didn’t respect women. In the Haudenosaunee communities, society is matriarchal and women are traditionally given great respect.

“I want all women in the U.S. to feel revered,” Lyons said.

The majority of the protesters at the event were women, though many were accompanied by their families.  Annette Labarge and Kathleen Winter, both Syracuse residents, said they were at the demonstration to support equality.

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Caroline Colvin | Staff Photographer

“I stand for love,” Winter said. “And equal rights means equal rights. Not more rights, not less rights, but equal rights for all people.”

They both agreed their values did not align with President Trump’s and that they appreciated the variety of issues represented at the march.

There were several students at the event, as well. Nedda Sarshar, Lorena Kanzki and Tierney McIntosh are three local college students who met at the event and said they quickly became friends.

“A lot of us weren’t able to make it to D.C. but I think it’s just as important for us to show solidarity here where we live, because this is where we are going to have to come back and do the work in,” said Sarshar, a senior citizenship and civic engagement, writing and rhetoric, and policy studies triple major at Syracuse University.

Kanzki, a sophomore television, radio and film major, and McIntosh, a sophomore psychology major at Onondaga Community College, both said they were there to support all of those who they see as oppressed, not just their own in-groups.

“The event is to be in solidarity,” Kanzki said. “We’re in solidarity with the people in the Women’s March in Washington, D.C., and generally I feel like we are in solidarity with all those who are marginalized.”

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