President-elect Donald Trump, according to soon-to-be White House Communications Director Sean Spicer, intends to call on the nation to unify behind him in his inauguration speech Friday.
But some who are still reeling from Trump’s disparaging remarks aimed at women, minorities and the disabled during the campaign to defeat Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton told the Pasadena Weekly they have no plans to support the nation’s 45th president.
Instead, many are ramping up efforts to oppose his administration at every perceived wrong move.
Hundreds of thousands of people in cities around the country — including Washington, DC, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Pasadena — are expected to rally against Trump’s ascension to the presidency before, during and after Friday’s inauguration.
“For me, this is personal,” said former Pasadena Public Information Officer Ann Erdman. “My grandma had to fight for the right to vote in 1920. My mother couldn’t get a credit card without a co-signature from my father in the 1960s, and I had to endure degrading practices toward women in the advertising-agency workplace in the 1970s.
“After all the strides women in the US have made over the decades to prove that women’s rights are human rights, I never thought I would see the day when, once again, ugly, threatening and vulgar rhetoric would be aimed at us, especially during a presidential campaign,” Erdman said.
Erdman is one of the organizers of Rally at the Rotunda. The event will be held from 8 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. Saturday at City Hall, 100 N. Garfield Ave. The theme of the event is, “When they go low, we go local.” The purpose of the event is to “stand together in solidarity for the protection of rights, safety, health and families,” according to a flyer circulating about the event.
At the conclusion of the rally, people are asked to drive, or hop on the Gold Line to Union Station, then transfer to the Red Line to Pershing Square on Hill Street. There organizers will have tents set up to distribute information and share their concerns about the incoming administration.
“Pasadena’s a feeder march,” explained Emiliana Guereca, a Los Angeles-based public events producer and an organizer of the Los Angeles event. “They wanted to do their own, so what happened is a lot of people said, ‘Well, I’ll do my own.’ So we actually said, ‘Why don’t you feed into us.’ Like Pasadena, Glendale, there’s another Valley, there’s Long Beach, which will feed into us. So we start marching at 10 and then they’re going to feed into us.”
Speakers at the Pasadena rally include Sheri Bonner, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Pasadena and the San Gabriel Valley, Lydia Finkley, chair of the Pasadena Unified School District Advisory Council, Judyth Hermosillo, a labor organizer with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 11, and Najeeba Syeed, associate professor of interreligious education at Claremont School of Theology.
“We are holding the rally in solidarity with women across the Los Angeles area and the nation and to present an opportunity to learn more about the issues facing us all in the months and years to come and how to stay involved in support of these issues,” said Jan Sanders, former Pasadena city librarian and chair of the Rally at the Rotunda Committee.
“So many women are faced with possible changes to some hard-fought advances in labor, health, immigration and basic human rights. This is grass-roots awareness at the local level,” Sanders said.
In the nation’s capital, groups have registered to park 1,800 buses on Saturday, which would mean nearly 100,000 people coming into town by that mode of transportation alone.
“I was deeply depressed about the results of the election and I felt like if I did not do something physically, it would be very difficult to move forward,” said Altadena Library District Director Mindy Kittay, who will be traveling to Washington to join in the rally there.
“California thinks progressively and inclusively so I felt like my one immediate action I can do and the place where it could make the most impact is on Washington, DC, on that day,” Kittay said.
As Inauguration Day looms, Trump shows no signs of slowing down on his use of social media to make statements ranging from remarks regarding issues of state to biting insults.
Last weekend, he engaged in a Twitter dispute with civil rights icon and Democratic US Rep. John Lewis of Georgia after Lewis told Chuck Todd of NBC News that he did not consider Trump to be a legitimate president. Lewis said this is mainly due to Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee during the election campaign in support of Trump.
In response, Trump did not address the core complaint, but instead said Lewis was “all talk.”
“Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested) rather than falsely complaining about the election results,” Trump tweeted. “All talk, talk, talk — no action or results. Sad!”
The exchange came on Sunday, the eve of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Lewis marched with King in the 1960s and endured brutal attacks by police dogs and officerbeatings during his efforts to bring equality to African Americans.
Since then, more than three dozen Democrats from Congress have announced they would not attend the inauguration, including Rep. Judy Chu (D-Pasadena). Democratic US Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee who is calling for an investigation of Russian hacking, said he will attend, but he will also march with demonstrators afterward.
“There are few people I respect more than John Lewis, a hero of the civil rights movement and a man I was honored to join in a civil rights pilgrimage to the Edmund Pettus Bridge and during a sit-in on the House floor to protest inaction on gun violence,” Schiff wrote in a statement to the Pasadena Weekly. “Trump’s lack of respect for Rep. Lewis and his insulting attitude towards others offends me greatly. As I have said many times, no one is doing more to undermine the legitimacy of Donald Trump’s presidency than Donald Trump.”
Chu, on the other hand, will have nothing to do with the inauguration.
“After much thought I have decided to stand with #istandwithjohnlewis and not attend the inauguration,” Chu tweeted on Saturday.
Although Trump has attacked African Americans, Latinos, Muslims, war heroes and the media, women have been among his top targets. During the GOP primary, he mocked candidate Carly Fiorina’s looks and suggested that former FOX News anchor Megyn Kelly was on her period after she asked him tough questions during a debate.
“You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes,” Trump said during an interview with CNN’s Don Lemon. “Blood coming out of her wherever.”
At one point during the campaign against Clinton, Trump said women who have abortions should face, “some type of punishment.” He later backtracked on those comments.
Making matters even more worrisome, GOP leaders in Congress have said they would defund Planned Parenthood and repeal the Affordable Care Act, which makes it easier for unemployed people to get health insurance and bars insurance companies from refusing coverage to people with preexisting conditions.
“We’ve come too far to go backwards,” said Rebecca Fleming, a former city of Pasadena employee who plans to attend the rallies in Pasadena and Pershing Square. “We are the backbone of this nation. United we will move forward, hatred will never win over love … ever!
“As women, the lack of respect shown by the incoming administration is not only appalling, but frightening,” Fleming said. “We are united in our efforts to be treated with dignity and respect.”
Los Angeles Women’s March co-organizer Deena Katz, producer of “Real Time with Bill Maher” and co-executive producer of “Dancing with the Stars,” said men are welcome to join in.
“It’s bigger than us and it’s just not about me. It’s about everyone, and so it’s about religious rights, it’s about workers’ rights, it’s about teachers, it’s about reproductive rights … it’s everything. It’s about Muslim rights and I’m a Jew. It doesn’t matter. This isn’t us, this is everyone. So we all have to get out to fight for everyone,” said the West Los Angeles resident.
(Joe Piasecki, editor of the PW’s sister newspaper The Argonaut, contributed to this report.)