Activists from across New York City gathered at the LGBT Center in Manhattan Tuesday for the first of what is promised to be a regular series of ‘Trump Resistance Town Halls’.
Over a hundred New Yorkers gathered for the free form event, where attendees voiced their opinions on the issues needing championing and groups needing supporting under a Trump presidency. The town hall was organized by three activists – James Krellenstein, Jeremiah Johnson, and Milo Ward – according to the Facebook event page.
The three described the town hall on Facebook “as the start of a flat, all volunteer group united in anger and committed to direct action which will organize itself into working groups — focusing on everything from policy and data analysis to organizing protests — to ensure that we have the largest impact possible.”
Opening the meeting, Johnson, an activist with Act Up, a non-partisan group committed to direct action to end AIDs, said: “In the face of fascism, of an authoritarian regime that has come in, I believe we have to take that seriously. I believe we have to take it deadly seriously right now and I don’t think we have time to wait and see.
“What more evidence do we need? We have heard from this man and the many people around him for years – people who have derived power from bullying people; from oppressing marginalized populations to get what they want. We know they hold no regard for many people in this room. We believe we have an urgent need to come together right now and start to work on these issues.”
Johnson stressed that with a right-wing Congress, the likely selection of a conservative judge to fill the vacant seat on the Supreme Court, and the domination of state legislatures and governorships by Republicans, it was up to ordinary citizens to come together and provide the checks and balances to the Trump administration.
“Let’s not make it easy for them. Let’s give them hell,” said Johnson.
James Krellenstein also addressed the meeting: “We have a moral obligation to do something. The annals of history are littered with societies like ours who have elected a leader like Trump, like the Republican Congress, like who they are going to appoint to the Supreme Court who have perpetuated mass injustices. The lesson of history is clear: every single time the one thing people need to do is stand up and say no, just stand up and say no.”
“Let’s not make it easy for them. Let’s give them hell” – Jeremiah Johnson.
Discussion was then opened to the floor. Activists raised key issues they wanted the group to fight for and floated ideas on strategies to resist the Trump administration’s policies.
Combating voter suppression, especially of people of color, fighting against a militarized foreign policy, resisting the “global right”, protecting Medicare and Medicaid, supporting undocumented immigrants, and preserving the rights of LGTBQ people were some of the topics discussed.
One activist said: “I’ve been doing an action almost every other day since the election, and they’re great – marching, carrying signs, yelling. Trump has really upped the ante. We have to up the ante too. Marching and holding signs is not fucking enough. We have to be seriously disruptive…those of us who have the privilege to risk arrest must do that, we must be in their face.”
The group pledged to meet again on Tuesday November 28. Readers can get involved here.