Chanting could be heard blocks away from City Hall in downtown Kansas City the afternoon of President Donald Trump’s Inauguration Day, where hundreds of protesters were gathered.
“We don’t need Trump,” people screamed. “Not my president!”
The protesters met in front of the Liberty Memorial around 2 p.m. Friday afternoon and marched to City Hall, signs in hand, chanting loud and clear in protest of Donald Trump’s presidency.
One group of protesters, carried a black coffin for “a mock funeral for our great world.”
The protest was free of incidents of violence, leaving Kansas City a very peaceful protest in lieu of the more violent one resulting in smashed windows, fires, tear gas and riot police at the Washington D.C protest.
“It was safe and peaceful. We all waved to the police, they waved back to us, there was no violence,” said protestor Mary K. Prea.
Kansas City and Jackson County law enforcement kept a close watch on Friday’s event, blocking off roads to help protesters safely walk the route from the Liberty Memorial to City Hall, and standing by in case of ay inciting violence.
Speakers rallied protesters at both the Liberty Memorial and Town Hall from numerous organizations such as Partnership for the Advancement of Immigrant Students, Black Youth Committee, Let’s Organize the Hood/Black Youth Committee, Progressive Youth Organization, Green Party, Squad of Siblings, Una Lucha, Kansas City Revolutionary Collective, Proletarian Feminist Committee and Young Democratic Socialists.
Select individuals also spoke on issues of immigration and issues faced by the Muslim community. Protesters ranged from all ages, genders, ethnicities, and backgrounds.
Protester Mary K. Prea, a 55-year-old retired woman, came to the protest motivated by her late uncle, Primitivo Garcia. Her uncle was a Mexican immigrant and the first person of Hispanic origin to have a school named after him in the Kansas City area.
Prea’s uncle died a hero when he took a bullet at Westport High School for a pregnant teacher who was attacked by a group of robbers.
“My dad and his older brothers came here from Mexico. They were hard working people, painters, and anything else they could find to save money and bring the whole family over,” said Prea. “I’m doing this because my family came here to have freedom and a better life.”
Prea stood mostly for immigration issues but also opposed Trumps’ presidency for fear of the violation of women’s and LGBT rights due to her own experience.
“I was married to a man who was verbally, mentally, and physically abusive and I stayed with him for 20 years because that’s what you did in my generation,” said Prea. “I finally escaped to a safe home and got an education. I am a more powerful person because of Safe Home in Kansas City.”
Another protester, Karen Baddeley, a 36-year-old law student was among the crowd of protesters on Friday.
“I came to make the statement that everything Trump stands for is unacceptable and to me, his is an illegitimate presidency,” said Baddeley. “I also want people who are walking by feeling disenfranchised to know that there are people who care about them.”
Baddeley was no stranger to the protesting experience and had previously protested in New York when President Bush was elected to run at the RNC. During the RNC protest, she was arrested for blocking traffic but later released with no charge.
“We wouldn’t have a lot of the rights we have, had people not protested. You can’t do nothing if you don’t accept the alternative, and I don’t accept it,” said Baddeley. “I couldn’t just sit at home and watch the coverage of the inauguration, I had to do something.”
While Baddeley had a lot of concerns over the upcoming Trump Administration, her biggest concern revolved around healthcare and the Affordable Care Act. She clutched a sign that read “Not Again” with a picture of a clothes hanger.
“I rely on medication like a lot of Americans do. I’m a student, I can’t afford to lose my health insurance. I can’t imagine how much my medications would be without it,” said Baddeley. “As a woman, I am concerned over the chipping away of our healthcare rights. It starts with birth control, but where is it going to end? I don’t want to go back to a time where women have unsafe abortions.”
First time protester, Phil Kelley, a 23-year-old computer science student at Longview Community College also partook in Friday’s events, having major concerns about the new president.
“Trump isn’t like any other corrupt politician. This is a guy who in his cabinet has senators with ties to the KKK and the head of the far-right, racist website breitbart.com,” said Kelley. “He is bolstering racist incidents and hate crimes and the rise of the alt-right Neo-Nazi Organization. He is slowly leading this country towards fascism.”
While many people have criticized protesting of the inauguration, calling it whining, Kelley strongly feels that to not criticize the President would be unpatriotic.
“I think it’s ignorant to say ‘you guys are just whining’ because Teddy Roosevelt once said, and I’m paraphrasing here, ‘to say there should be no criticism of the president or of America is unpatriotic.’,” said Kelley. “I don’t think it’s whiny to protest and criticize the president because when President Obama was president, people were constantly protesting his policies, so I don’t see why we shouldn’t do the same.”
Kelley liked the experience of protesting and says that he will continue to protest if President Trump begins enacting damaging policies such as a Muslim ban or putting a stop to immigration. Kelley carried a sign with an acronym for Trump, “Totalitarian, Racist, Unqualified, Misogynist, Pedophile.”
“A lot of people say we shouldn’t protest and that we need to respect Trump’s legitimacy, but you should not feel like you shouldn’t protest a corrupt leader or resist his policies,” said Kelley. “Our country was founded on freedom of speech and assembly. People have every right to protest Trump.”
The protest wrapped up around 5:30 p.m. after the last speaker finished and the last of the protesting chants subsided.