There was a spirited rally in downtown of around 100 people, of all ages and backgrounds. Speakers at the rally included: Linda Solotaire of Refuse Fascism; Salman Aftab from the American Muslim Task Force on Civil Rights & Elections; Carl Dix, who delivered the statement to the July 15 demonstrations from the Revolutionary Communist Party; Bishop Gregg L. Greer, President, Freedom First International; Curtis Harris, Chicago ADAPT, a disability rights organization; Bro. Michael Oboza, LGBTQ feminist and Ted Sirota, musician and founder of Degenerate Artists Against Fascism (DAAF). Matt Skolar did a blues number about how “no human being is illegal”; Shontay Luna read two poems; and Steakhouse Mints sang a new song, “We are united, we are not scared, we’re not tired, we are marching, we are on fire!”
There were several contingents in the march which grew to about 300 people, including: “women breeders” dressed in red robes and white hats—like from The Handmaid’s Tale; the “mass incarcerated and tortured” in orange jump suits; giant grotesque puppets of Trump, Pence and the “grim reaper” Stephen Bannon; a contingent to honor the Portland heroes; the Revolution Club with a banner supporting J15 signed by Black people from the South Side neighborhood of Englewood; and a group of women drummers working with Ted Sirota.
The march, which went through downtown and to the Trump Tower, had a big impact—hundreds of people lined the march route, clapping, joining the chants, and taking pictures; and some taking up signs and joining the march. There were many different kinds of people on the march who had met Refuse Fascism in different ways—at the Pride Parade, the Climate March, the Women’s March in Chicago, the Handmaids demonstration, the counter-demonstration against the reactionaries who are spreading anti-Muslim hatred in the guise of being “anti-Sharia”; people who saw the July 15 protest on the morning TV news and decided to come join; and some who were just walking down the street.
Some high school students who joined the Handmaids contingent said there were lots of reasons to protest against Trump, including the threat of war in North Korea, climate change and attacks on science, the immigration ban and the wall, lying and nepotism, attacks on health and on women and abortion in particular, and the way fascists goons are being mobilized to attack people. A 14-year-old Latina said she came “to make a change… we’re the next generation… we’re the ones who can make it happen, to have a better world. Trump is sexist, against the nationalities, but we’re human, we all have a heart and feelings.” An older Jewish woman, when she heard this wasn’t the Democratic Party but people who want to drive Trump OUT, said, “Yes! That’s what I am about.” A scientist who came from the suburbs said she learned from the recent experience in South Korea, where weeks of protest by millions of people forced the resignation of a hated president, that driving out the whole regime is possible.
Shontay Luna, a poet who read two of her poems at the rally, said: “Up until he won the election, I never considered myself an activist at all. Up until that point, I considered myself a rebel, when it comes to writing words down. But activism was something that was left to other people to take up. But I see that he’s in the White House now, and I knew it could happen, but with him being in the White House now—each and every one of us who did not vote for him, we all have to be activists now because there’s no more… just standing along the sidelines and looking and saying ‘oh, wow.’ He won, he’s in there. Everyone who’s against him, we have got to drive him out.”