Anti-Trump activists held a New Orleans-style funeral procession mourning the death of the US presidency as part of an unusual President’s Day weekend’s protest.
Members of Rise and Resist, a group of grassroots activists founded in response to the election of President Trump, and LGBTQ organization Gays Against Guns (GAG), rallied at Washington Square Park at noon on Saturday before setting off to Union Square on the mock procession, led by a traditional jazz band.
Mock pallbearers carried a coffin with the presidential seal and the inscription “The American Presidency: April 30, 1789 to January 20, 2017” while other attendees displayed a set of original drawings of previous American presidents held upside down by mourners to indicate distress.
“Donald Trump is not merely dangerous, he is a national disgrace,” said Jay W. Walker, a member of Rise and Resist and one of the event’s organizers. “Colluding with Russian spies, committing sexual assault, telling brazen lies to the American public, engendering fear and race hatred—Trump and those he surrounds himself with have demeaned the highest office in the land and, by extension, every American.”
“Xenophobic, homophobic, racist, misogynist—the list of of reasons why Trump is unfit to be president goes on and on,” said Christina Chapman, another event organizer. “We are here to tell Trump that we will not allow him to run roughshod over the American people, and we’re here to show the American people that by coming together, we can fight back against Trump’s hate-filled agenda—and win.”
During the “funeral”, GAG led a rendition of parody hymns written by Mark Leydorf and others, including “Amazing Disgrace” (to the tune of Amazing Grace), “MAR-A-LAGO!” (Oklahoma) and “Donny the Con Man” (Frosty the Snowman).
When asked about the unusual nature of the sing-a-long, Mark Leydorf, a member of GAG said, “GAG came up with this singing idea because people love to sing, and a lot of people especially after the protests were just so discouraged and so sad, so to see us singing these songs, and saying what they were thinking, gives them permission to make fun of this.”
The event attracted a diverse crowd, including those who were there to learn more about the different ways that groups are resisting.
“I’m a gay French writer and activist. My goal is to understand how people organize when it comes to people like Trump because that’s also what’s threatening us in France with Marine Le Pen. I like the fact that this protest uses humor as a tool to reinvigorate people,” said Cyril, a protestor who declined to give his second name.
Rise and Resist is a diverse group of people committed to direct action to oppose, disrupt, and defeat any United States government action that threatens democracy and equality.
Gays Against Guns NY is a group of LGBTQ folk and their allies committed to fighting the gun industry through non-violent means.