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Anti-Trump protesters gather in Continental Square
Protesters had signs referring to many issues, from healthcare to abortion rights to climate change.
Spring Garden Township resident Porter Hedge said President Donald Trump and his appointees are touching on every important issue, such as climate change, research programs and education.
Unfortunately, he said, "They're on the wrong side of those issues.”
Hedge, holding a sign reading “Science is real, so is climate change,” was among about a dozen Indivisible York protesters who gathered Monday morning in Continental Square in downtown York.
“We’re demonstrating to make sure that our representatives hold town hall meetings and to resist the Trump agenda,” said Brian Stetler, an organizer with Indivisible York who led the group’s event.
He said about 260 people have joined the group on Facebook since its formation in early February, and many have expressed interest in holding demonstrations such as the one Tuesday morning. A second protest was planned for the afternoon.
During the demonstration, the group got mostly honks of support from drivers heading down Market Street, and some drivers yelled out of their windows in support.
“It’s been more good than bad,” Stetler said.
He said he was not politically active during the election, and has come to regret it.
“I voted, and I talked a lot about it and tried to reason with people, but I didn’t volunteer,” Stetler said.
During the group’s demonstration, just hours ahead of President Trump’s first address to a joint session of Congress, Stetler said he hoped the president would have a more forceful tone against discrimination.
“I’d like to hear strong condemnation of the attacks that have occurred,” he said, including the threats that were made Monday against Jewish Community Centers in York and Harrisburg.
Indivisible: The demonstration was largely coordinated online, where political activism has exploded since the November election. Grassroots political organizations have emerged, including Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign offshoot Our Revolution and the more popular Indivisible Guide.
The Indivisible website, which touts a “practical guide for resisting the Trump agenda,” includes a detailed manual that teaches people how to start, recruit and advocate for their cause.
Organizers of the York group, just a few weeks old, met in person for the first time Tuesday.
“Hi, I’m Jeanne!” fellow protest captain Jeanne Otto said to Stetler. “Hi, I’m Brian! It’s nice to meet you,” Stetler responded.
Protesters had signs referring to many issues, from health care to abortion rights to climate change.
‘The resistance’: “We’re part the resistance,” said Jane Dodson from Manchester Township.
She said she is protesting because decisions are being made that don’t align with her beliefs. Dodson brought a sign that read, “Hands off my body,” which, she explained, had three different meanings: “Abortion rights, contraception and rape and abuse of women,” she said.
Dodson said she would like to continue demonstrating.
“You’re standing for something,” she said.
Delma Welch of York City was at the very front of the protest group with a sign reading “No ban!” and said Trump’s immigration ban goes against the values of the United States.
“This country was founded on immigrants, and if you can discriminate against one group, who’s next?" she said. “It’s scary.”
Hedge said the opportunity to prevent irreversible climate change is narrowing.
“The political right have wanted to curb the EPA for years and years, and this is their chance with a president like Trump to do it,” he said.
Hedge said that while military spending makes up more than half of the federal budget, “Public TV is something like .01 percent of the national budget, and they want to eliminate that. I don't get it.”
“How can we do without Big Bird?” he asked.