"We reject, the President-elect!" "We reject, the President-elect!
Hundreds of protesters marched in downtown SanTana yesterday afternoon denouncing President-Elect Donald Trump and his incoming hate regime. People gathered near the 4th Street Market and walked to the Old Orange County Courthouse for a rally.
Organized by two young Latinas, the action brought together about 350 people from diverse backgrounds: Latinos, Muslims, white folks, people with disabilities, LGBTQ and African-Americans—basically everybody Trump insulted on his path to power. Protesters carried signs reading "Not My President" and "Dump Trump Now," even incorporating the Weekly's Pepe the Frog cover trolling Trump!
The speakers from the courthouse steps reflected that diversity with a spirited message of unity. Backed by a colorful banner reading "Stop Donald Trump, Stop the Hate, Buck Trump!" Richard Castle, a white researcher who works on Fourth Street, rallied the spirited crowd with an impassioned speech. "We're not whining, we're not complaining because we didn't get the president that we wanted," he said. "We are outraged and we're voicing our dissent because we have a man who in office who treats our democracy as a plaything for his vanity and megalomania!"
The bullhorn later turned to Muslim activist Rida Hamida as the sun began to set. "When you ask us Muslims to condemn violence and terrorism, I ask you President-elect to condemn violence, misogyny, and the rhetoric that's out there with regard to refugees," she said, wearing her signature pink hijab. "I will not be afraid, I will not take off my hijab because it makes some people uncomfortable."
Former SanTana city council candidate Ana Urzua brought the courthouse rally to a close with a bilingual message. "I am an immigrant, I am Mexican and I am a Santanera!," Urzua said to applause. "I also want to acknowledge all the protests that have been happening because all forms of expression matter!" Santa Ana joined a growing list of cities that have turned out in protest since last week's presidential election.
On Wednesday night, about 600 mostly youth protesters in SanTana took over the intersection of McFadden Avenue and Bristol Street against a heavy police presence. Students at the campuses of UC Irvine, Cal State Fullerton and even Chapman denounced the Donald. Smaller actions took place Sunday afternoon in Irvine, Saturday evening in Long Beach, and Saturday afternoon at the Orange Circle—but a planned rally at the Huntington Beach Pier was called off after loser HB online trolls frightened off the female organizer. One hundred people marched through Irvine yesterday with the Irvine United Congregational Church.
Protesters in SanTana marched from the courthouse all the way down to Eddie West Field and back up to SanTana Plaza in downtown where they gathered for a more informal rally to end the night. Of course, nothing happened—but the ever-racist Orange County Register felt it necessary to ridiculously reassure its readers that "no shots were fired" nor punches thrown, all under the watchful eye of Santa Ana police.
"I just wanted to make my voice heard," Darryl Taylor, an African-American protester, told the Weekly. "The celebration of Trump's victory coming from white nationalists is especially troubling."
The deep sense of unease for what's to come in a Trump administration motivated many people to get involved in something they've never done before. "It is the first time I've ever protested anything," says Molly Epstein, a Tustin woman with disabilities. "I felt hopeless on Election Night that so many people supported what he stands for but it's just a beautiful thing to see this many people are out here against all of that."
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No unions, nonprofits or grassroots groups organized the event—just Loreta Sierra and Karina Alvarado, two young Latina millennials. "People needed to know that Orange County stands in solidarity with all marginalized communities and allies," says Sierra, a 20-year-old Santa Ana College student. She doesn't belong to any formal organizations, but felt motivated to put the protest together after election night. Two punk women interrupted Sierra's interview with the Weekly just to sincerely thank her for the effort.
"We're not sure what comes next, but we really need to band together," Sierra says. "Most of the people here are young people and I think that they will start taking initiative."