Over 300 people joined the “Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!” rally at the UN Plaza. Then about 240 people marched, starting on Market Street, the main street in this city, and then going into the Mission district along Mission Street to 24th.
A range of people came to take part, support, speak, and march. One group came holding a homemade banner saying “Health Care for All—Leave no one behind.” People came from around the Bay Area—from seeing the event on Facebook, some students from SF State and UC Berkeley. A few individuals from Indivisible chapters were there. A number of people on the Refuse Fascism email list who had not been part of other things came out.
The Colectiva de Mujeres from the SF Mission, a grouping of women immigrants, came in a contingent of over a dozen people, spoke at the rally, and marched. Alex U. Inn, a grand marshal of the SF PRIDE parade, spoke and called on everyone to defy the Trump agenda. Rev. J. Alfred Smith Jr. of Allen Temple Baptist Church in East Oakland, powerfully called out the Trump regime as fascist and passionately called for resistance. The El/La para Translatinas organization from the Mission spoke movingly of the situation of trans people and immigrants. Sharif Zakout, the lead organizer of Arab Resource Organizing Center, spoke of the effect of the Muslim ban and made the point that the refugees who are being banned are largely forced from their homes because of wars waged or backed by the U.S. Longtime people’s lawyer Tony Serra urged the crowd to “resist, reject and repudiate all that Trump stands for, in every fashion that you are capable of. This is the struggle of the century….” (See excerpts from some of the statements, on this page.) One of the organizers read a powerful poem about confronting that this is in fact fascism. The salute “To the Brave Dreamers and Fighters of July 15” from the Revolutionary Communist Party was read with passion.
The rally was opened by a powerful reading of the Refuse Fascism call, and closed with a reading of the message from Refuse Fascism to these rallies. The march was loud, and the chants rocked the streets of San Francisco. The Brass Liberation Orchestra added a whole dimension. Many people who were marching in their first action with Refuse Fascism helped lead chants. The whole thing had a spirit of “It’s up to us” to drive out this regime. Everyone who was there was invited to come to the next meeting of Bay Area Refuse Fascism.
The alt-right forces who had threatened on social media to come did show up, but in small numbers. Three of them were there to film the rally and march. A couple others seemed to be there to assist in that. They did not attempt to disrupt. There was also a small grouping of UC Berkeley College Republicans, who just observed.
The following are excerpts from some of the statements made at the UN Plaza rally:
La Colectiva de la Mujeres:
“We have to unite. We have to unite to say: No Ban, No Wall. We have to unite to say we are coming together to get Trump out. We need a different future. A future that is worthy of human beings, a future for humanity. No more chains. No more intimidation. We have to stand up strong, united, and fight until we drive this guy and the whole regime out. We have to overcome fear and fight so that future generations can see that we have fought for them.”
Johanna, from El/La para TransLatinas:
“As Trans Latinas, we are immigrants. They say that we are a danger. But we are the ones that are endangered. We come here to work and we are being denied our basic rights. We demand that international law be respected. We demand full rights for the Latino community and all immigrants in this country. We come here to work as women. We don’t want to live in a situation where our life expectancy is 35 years. We want a full life and to live to an old age and live life fully.”
Alex U. Inn, 2017 San Francisco Pride March Grand Marshall:
“There is a small window of time, people. If we do not act on that, we have lost the power. Our voices, our action, everything in you as a human being today is what you need to be holding onto and saying I am not intimidated. I am not fucking going anywhere, and you are going to hear my voice, you are going to feel my power. You are someone that I will take from power and I will be in your face to do it.”
J. Tony Serra, people’s attorney:
“At no time in the last 50 or 60 years, though I have participated as a lawyer in many civil rights issues, has there been greater challenge than presently. We are engaged in a struggle to preserve the soul of the nation. Trump has declared a war against the poor, the working class, and the immigrants. Trump has declared a war against race, against religion…. The concept we all must embrace is resist. Resist his racism, resist his religious bigotry. This country does not belong to the wealthy, the white, and the Christian. Resist, reject, repudiate all that Trump stands for in any fashion that you are capable of. This is the struggle of this century. The soul of our democracy, the soul of our constitutional liberties, the soul of the great majority of persons is in jeopardy. Time will not reverse itself. We must reject the trajectory. So resist, my friends and we will prevail.”
Rev. J. Alfred Smith Jr., Senior Pastor, Allen Temple Baptist Church, Oakland
“Folks seem to be very conversant about the atrocities that are multiplying daily but they have not in many cases put a face on this. There’s been an elephant in the room, and nobody wants to name the elephant. Today, that elephant has been named many times, but in case any of us are slow in seeing the picture, the face of the elephant in the room, all we have to do is connect the many dots that describe this elephant. We’ve heard that this is an autocratic, authoritarian regime that rules by fear: that’s a dot. This is a racist, white supremacist regime that promotes state-sponsored persecution, discrimination, and violence against people of color, particularly Black lives, Brown people, our Native people. It has perpetrated this against immigrants, against Muslims, against LGBTQI sisters and brothers, against women. That just about includes all of us. Against the poor, against those that are vulnerable. This regime has assaulted science, has raped the environment. This regime is taking sections of government that are supposed to be led by civilians and turning them over to military generals. These are all dots. Many other dots have been identified. If we would just connect the dots we would see a three dimensional, panoramic view of the ugly face of fascism. An organizer of the protest asked me, ‘Are you going to use the F-word?’ I’m pretty free but when he said the F-word I was taken aback. I said, ‘No I don’t think I’m going to use that word,’ though some other speakers have used it today. But he wasn’t talking about that F-word. He was talking about fascism. My sisters and brothers we are going to have to confront fascism. We’re going to have to fight fascism. We’re going to have to refuse fascism. We’re going to have to resist fascism.”