This Is What Democracy Looks Like: February Protests Recap

This is an article that was published by 20something on February 28th, 2017. The piece Sid accompanied by photographs, and the published article can be found here

February may be the shortest month of the year, but in the time of 45, each day is an opportunity for righteous protest, and lil ol’ February is no exception. Majority of the month has been filled with demonstrations, rallies and marches, according to our new best friend and Safari homepage, From protesting pipelines, to demanding human rights for Muslims, immigrants, and members of the LGBTQIA+ communities, to remaining vigilant in our lobbying of governmental entities, this month has been a very clear indication that there is an unshakable synergy forming between progressive groups focused on equity, safety and accountability.

While attending every one of these events is not only next to impossible, but taxing and likely a challenge for those with jobs and families and other responsibilities, people are showing up in the thousands to demonstrate that we will not be complacent in the face of such consistent and abhorrent injustices. Some of these demonstrations have been massive, others have been slightly less so. But regardless of their physical size, the collective commitment to standing up for all marginalized voices is palpable, and will only continue to grow. At 20something, we were ourselves able to attend, behold and participate in a few of this month’s actions, and we think you’ll be interested in hearing a bit about them, if you haven’t already!

No Ban No Wall! March for Muslims and Allies! at Foley Square on February 1

On the evening of February 1, hundreds of protesters and organizers met up in Foley Square to protest the Mexican border wall and the Muslim ban implemented by Trump and his administration.

The “No Ban No Wall! March for Muslims and Allies!” made it clear that the citizens of this city will not stand idly by as xenophobia and hateful deeds take shape. The march started in Foley Square in lower Manhattan and traveled to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement headquarters at Federal Plaza. The even was organized by Syria Solidarity New York City and CISPOS-NYC: Committee In Solidarity with the People of Syria, and was co-sponsored by the NY Immigration Coalition (its Facebook page recommends texting NYIC to 864237 for ongoing updates!)

Protect Planned Parenthood Rally at Margaret Sanger Health Center & Washington Square Park on February 11

When pro-choice organizers caught wind of the pro-life rallies scheduled for February 11, counter-protests began forming almost immediately in response nationwide. In the morning, the roughly 30 pro-life demonstrators protesting outside the Margaret Snager Health Center in downtown Manhattan were greatly outdone by over 200 pro-choice, pro-women’s health organizers and protesters who showed that, yes, women’s rights are human rights. Move uptown, a massive rally was taking place in Washington Square Park that featured music and some pretty amazing speakers that included NYC comptroller Scott Stringer and “Vagina Monologues” author and Tony Award winning playwright Eve Ensler. The day was a beautiful reminder that we are stronger together, and that those who seem fixated on denying women the right to control their own bodies will not silence our voices.

Love & Resist at MTA G Train, Greenpoint Ave on February 14

Taking place just outside the Greenpoint Ave G train stop, a small but passionate group of women (and some pretty adorable wee ones) began Valentine’s Day with a political message based in loving resistance. Handing out Valentine’s letters pre-addressed to New York Senator Kristen Gillibrand, morning commuters were invited to send their own personalized love notes to the senator as well as other “rad ladies who’ve (also) stood up to Trump.” It is imperative that we not only lobby our representatives and elected officials when we oppose a certain undertaking, but to also show our appreciation when they act on things we agree with.

Hey, Valentine’s Day may be a heteronormative and commercialized construct, but this is one message of love that we can definitely get behind!

NoDAPL NoKXL Pipeline Protest at Trump Tower on February 14

Hoping to “dump Trump on Valentine’s Day,” this small but fervent rally took place outside Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan. It served as a reminder that despite Trump’s unfounded and untrue claims, many people don’t support the construction of these pipelines. The violence enacted on the Indigenous communities at Standing Rock, including the tribes of the Great Sioux Nation, represent how environmental racism, the denial of human rights, and the consistent militarized response to nonwhite groups (among many other influencing factors) compound in their destructive natures.

Though the protest was small, it was focused and evoked the reality that as a people we are not supportive of the consistently enforced reliance on fossil fuels, not to mention the insidious reality that Trump is deeply entrenched in the corporations that engender so much damage to communities and the environment.

These actions represent just a fraction of the ever-expanding energy that is righteously becoming an everyday occurrence. Various groups defending the numerous marginalized and disenfranchised communities that are increasingly targeted by Trump’s bigoted plans for this country have begun to join forces, and these actions will only continue the reciprocal love we see growing. Being directly implicated in these struggles should never be a requisite for mobilizing for justice, and this month — as well as the months to come — only further attest to the growing recognition of this important fact.

Please make sure to check out Take Action NYC every day, as new events and actions are consistently added to the calendar! Another great and recently developed resource is Michael Moore’s most recent Huffington Post article illuminating 10 crucial steps to take against the unjust and dogmatic actions of Trump and this administration.