Around 200 peaceful demonstrators, including many Western students, gathered under a light drizzle in another protest against President-elect Donald Trump on Saturday, Nov. 12.
Protesters chanted, “Not my president,” and, “The people united will never be divided,” early in the morning on East Maple Street near the Farmer’s Market on Railroad Avenue.
Freshman Jacob Molloy played a role in organizing the event.
“We have to say we’re not going to be crushed by Trump,” Molloy said. “We have to say instead we’re angry. We’re going to fight back in a way that’s not just yelling and screaming but rather is a pointed and strategic movement.”
As the event began, speakers discussed the importance of spreading love and acceptance before beginning the march down East Maple Street. The crowd continued down Cornwall Avenue, at one point occupying both lanes of the street.
Once the marchers moved back to the sidewalk, cars drove past honking in support — some cheered with windows rolled down and fists raised high.
Ajay Lewis, a Bellingham Technical College student, was responsible for organizing the event through Facebook. Protests against the election today are important for the same reasons they were important in the 1960s, Lewis said.
“We’re going to fight back in a way that’s not just yelling and screaming but rather is a pointed and strategic movement.”
“It’s about showing opposition but love at the same time,” Lewis said. “We can’t hate them for thinking the way they do. We have to show them the way they think is not seeing the full picture.”
Lewis hopes peaceful events like these will instill activists with a sense of love and community, rather than the divisiveness violent protests can cause.
“A lot of people went out there and rioted. That doesn’t cause any peace or hopefulness at all,” Lewis said. “It’s about togetherness and solidarity.”
Whatcom Community College sophomore Maya Estrella said Bellingham has a responsibility to stand up for people’s beliefs regardless of the town’s liberal reputation.
“There’s skinheads that live in Whatcom County,” Estrella said. “The fact that’s still happening means we have to stand up, demonstrate and take action for what we believe in,” Estrella said.
The only incident during the protest happened as the march approached East Holly Street and North State Street when a passing bicyclist made remarks in opposition to the protest but fell off his bike seconds later. Lewis handed him his bike and made sure he was okay before he quickly sped off.
The group continued chanting and marching down East Holly Street onto Railroad Avenue, then halted for final comments on East Chestnut Street. Lewis and Molloy thanked the group for what they called a successful peaceful protest.