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Chicagoans protest Trump's inauguration
by Matt Simonette
2017-01-21

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Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Chicagoans, on Jan. 20, gathered in Daley Plaza in downtown Chicago to stand in protest of newly-inaugurated President Donald J. Trump. The gathering then marched to Trump International Tower and to various locations in downtown, reportedly blocking Lake Shore Drive for a brief time.

While a large overhead monitor affixed to the side of Block 37 silently broadcast footage from inaugural festivities in Washington, D.C.—its signal continually malfunctioning while doing so—speakers and audience members first voiced their defiance of Trump's intended policies, especially as they pertain to immigrant and workers' rights though numerous concerns were addressed.

Before the rally began, the crowd enthusiastically chanted their support for a diverse American society: "No hate, no fear, everyone is welcome here." That chant was soon changed by the crowd to show support for the LGBT community, however: "No hate, no fear, LGBTQ is welcome hear."

Among the speakers was Cook County Commissioner and former mayoral candidate Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, who spoke enthusiastically about a resolution condemning hatred that he said unanimously was passed by the Cook County Board of Commissioners the day before.

"Racism, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism—these forms of discrimination, and all other forms of hate, have no place in Cook County," Garcia said. "We understand that much of what has been brought up across the country comes out of the national election and the hateful that was empowered by a certain candidate who today was inaugurated into office. We understand today that the one of the reasons that Chicago and Cook County is one of the greatest places in the world is because of the diversity, because of the willingness of all of us to accept and embrace each other, to recognize our differences and to say that we can only be through when all of us can accept everyone and say that no one will be left behind. An injury to one is an injury to all."

Vladimir, a teenager who received a DACA ( Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals ), spoke about his fears for the DREAM Act as well as his community commitments in the face of a Trump presidency. The act would have offered a path to residency for many undocumented individuals, but many DREAMers are unsure of what will happen now.

"I'm tired of living in the shadows," Vladimir said. "Since I've got my DACA, I'm going to be fighting with you guys."

Jaquie Algie of Service Employees International Union Healthcare added, "We're not going away. We are here to stay."


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