An “anti-Trump” counter protest took place at Saturday at Rosa Parks Circle, as the “pro-Trump” rally took place simultaneously blocks away at Calder Plaza in Grand Rapids.
“The day they announced it, we announced ours,” said Michele Devoe Lussky, co-leader of Indivisible West Michigan. “It was planned to be two and a half blocks away (from theirs) and to have a peaceful, counter demonstration.”
Indivisible, a national organization dedicated to combating “regressive agendas” according to their Facebook page, was the group behind the rally.
“It’s a nation wide organization that’s against the Trump administration,” said Ginger Hensley, of Grand Rapids as she was passing out Indivisible West Michigan stickers. “I’m just a good old Grand Rapidian who’s against the Trump administration and their regressive agenda and I’m here to pass these out.”
The message of the rally was to let people express their beliefs and values about the direction the country is going in.
“We are out here demonstrating first assembly rights, to promote our true American values of inclusion, diversity, liberty, kindness (and) democracy,” Devoe Lussky said. “This is what our country is founded on.”
Lisa Boerman of Grand Rapids said “I’m here to show progressive patriotism. I’m not happy with the direction the nation is going to and I’m here to unify.”
Among the protestors, there was a station setup to allow participants of the protest to create their own signs and use them to express their opinions.
“I wasn’t planning to do a sign, but I saw the supplies were here, so I thought I would participate,” said Anna Clifford of Grand Rapids. “I chose to write what I have here – white, straight, citizen, scared – because I fit into those categories and I’m still scared … I can’t imagine how marginalized … people feel right now.”
The protest also took place to show that not all Americans feel positively towards the Trump Administration, according to Julian Ayers of Grand Rapids.
“Specifically today, there is a rally in support of President Trump over at Calder Plaza and we are here to try and show that we don’t feel the same way they do,” Ayers said. “And they do not represent America, or Grand Rapids.”
According to Ayers, the rally that took place at Rosa Parks Circle was a small action and there will be more to come.
“I know that this was something that was done a bit on the fly,” Ayers said. “I know that Indivisible has bigger plans going forward, but I don’t know what they are exactly … My guess is that there will be more protests and if Indivisible doesn’t do it, I will.”
As a whole, the rally went well according to Caledonia resident Cadence Morton, who’s a member of the leadership council for Indivisible West Michigan.
“I think today was awesome,” Morton said. “Unfortunately, I was at the front of the march and so I couldn’t tell how the rest of the march went, but from what everybody said, they said they loved it. They were really happy with the organization that we put into it, how we had an opening speech, how we had a format to the rally and they seemed really happy about us organizers keeping everybody in line and telling them where to go, the chants we were using, so I think it went great.”
Some of the chants included “Unite. Unite. Defend our values and our rights,” “Corporate greed is not our creed” and “We want free and public education, not religious indoctrination”.