Photos: Nadin and Tom Abbott
Video: Tom Abbott
Nov 12, 2016 (San Diego) A fought straight day of demonstrations in San Diego. This time around it was called by Act Now to Stop War and End Racism Coalition (ANSWER). This particular march was part of a national day of action, and San Diego was joined by marches in Los Angeles for Example.
The demonstration was extremely well attended, with at least 2000 people marching through Balboa Park. This was a crowd attended by families, and by people of all colors and presumably creeds, as well as sexual orientation. The people screamed usual pace songs, such as “the people United will never be defeated,” and “who’s streets, our streets,” as well as “tell me what democracy looks like, this is what democracy looks like.”
There were new march songs. Among them “Fck Trump,” and “He’s not my President.” There was defiance in the air, but also anger, and still in shock that Donald Trump could win the election. There was also a sense of surprise at how the electoral college works and that he will be President, even when she won the popular vote.
Reporting San Diego spoke with Ryan Strain, one of the organizers, and this is what he had to say:
“We are here to unite as many people as can be united against white power and patriarchy. It is our belief that the election is a referendum on those two issues.” He added, “half of America decided to support those two issues white power and patriarchy. We think we have a majority that opposes it.” this is reflected in the popular vote.
He also went into a diagnosis of why Democrats are also to blame for this electoral result. “Democrats have been disenfranchising, not just Republicans but including Democrats have been disenfranchising poor black and brown people for over two decades now.”
As far as the Democrats, he also added, “if they are going to blame other groups for their own election loss, they really should look at their own policies before they start throwing trash around. It’s our belief that this is completely the Democrat’s fault, and that they got the bed that they made.”
During the course of the march, we also had a chance to speak with Darwin Fishman, a professor at St Nazarene College. We talked a tad also on the demonstration at the Gaslamp quarter Wednesday night. He said, “I was very impressed, tons of youth, youth of color.It is well organized, and they need to keep it up.”
He added, about the size of crowdowed on both days, “It is beautiful, this is a very healthy response.”
Fishman added that “There has to be a reaction to the pussy grabber, ban muslims, racist Mexicans.” Moreover, “we do not want to wait for the deportation teams to come out taking people away. Now it is a good time to start organizing and getting ready for that, making sure that never happens.”
We also talked about his students. We know that some instructors across the country have done a lot to help their students. “A lot are out here.” He also told us that Nazarene University is out of school session right now, But the ones he has contact with, “they are out here, they are organizing, they are very upset. They want to vent.”
This venting “has to be organized so it can be sustained. And not just one march or a few marches.”
Back to the Wednesday march, he was very concerned that the police was just grabbing people. “A lot of the people they grabbed, surprise, surprise were black activists from El Cajon.” In his view two thirds of those arrested were black activists from El Cajon.”
Tegan was one of those arrested and came to the park. She partially said, “I am very, very proud to call San Diego my home. I’m so glad that you guys are here. And I thank you guys.” She also said that she is tailing of herself and her comrades, “that were arrested and those who were beaten. And the people we don’t know about, who were hurt, who were arrested.”
As she looked around and met eyes of people in the crowd Tegan said, “this shows me right now that we were not arrested for nothing.” In her view out of those arrests and use of force by San Diego Police, came this protest. I love you guys very much, and I will do it all over again.”
From this reporter’s handbook, police presence at this rally was high, but low profile in the sense that the riot equipment was not visible. Also. we observed an assistant police chief in command of the situation.
One of the worries is how Trump will go about his relationship with organized labor. Reporting San Diego had a chance to speak with Cymone Filmore who is an activist with the Fight for $15 movement. We spoke about the election. Filmore said that “as a citizen I feel cheated. I don’t see how Donald Trump was even nominated, let alone became president.”
Filmore added, “the majority of us voted for Hillary. Hillary should have won, she would have been the best candidate for us as citizens. Donald Trump, he has hatred. Like for people of color. There is women he targeted, there is even women of sexual assault (sic) that he has spoken against. And personally as a female, as a woman of color, and as a woman who has been though sexual assault I feel like, my life is in danger. Like I don’t feel safe in my own country that I was raised and born in.” She also said that he needs to either make amends for what he has said, or he needs to be impeached.
We also spoke about her life and wages. She is worried, “I barely make ends meet as it is, trying to work two to three jobs is hard. It takes away from my family. It seems that Donald Trump being president that he is against raising the minimum wage. He doesn’t want me to be able to help my family. On top of that he wants to take away the little benefits that we have.”
There is definite fear of the future. In the case of Filmeore it is complex, ranging from government services that she has to rely on to keep a roof over her heard, to the current environment of hate.
We also had a chance to speak briefly, and I mean briefly, with Sister Aida from Hicrest. We spoke about the attacks that have occurred against members of the LGBTQ community. Sister Aida has heard of these attacks, “it’s sad that the people seem to think that because somebody running for president does those sort of things, it now makes it okay for them to do it its just shortsighted and kind of ignorant.”
She added, “the community here has all banded together we are all here in solidarity becuase we want a better life. And not to roll back to a bad era when people were treated poorly,” if you are different.
When we left people were still lining the sidewalk holding signs, There was music and dancing on another corner. It looked as the protest was both defiance, and a day in the park.