Milford protest as Trump inaugurated draws attention to environment, education and more
MILFORD >> At just about the time of President Donald J. Trump’s swearing-in, about 120 people gathered in front of City Hall to make a statement.
“We have to participate in our democracy to make it a democracy,” Barbara Milton told the crowd. “It’s now up to us.”
Beginning at noon Friday, the public joined members of a fledgling organization and spoke of their concerns, while respecting the electoral system.
They cited respect, health care, Planned Parenthood, women’s rights, public education, deportations and the environment.
The event was sponsored by MilfordSpeaksOut, which can be found on Facebook.
“We are hoping to build a network of like-minded people in Milford to join with us in speaking out,” said organizer Jeanne Cervin.
The group is talking with MoveOn.org, a national group, about possibly joining forces, Cervin said.
“We will speak out,” Cervin said.
A song began the event, Woody Guthrie’s 1940s “This Land is Your Land,” which ended with “America the Beautiful.”
There were chants, such as “Hey, hey, what do you say, we can’t wait another day,” and “Never give up.”
Many people held signs: “Health care is a right,” “Protect the Dreamers,” “Fairness, Honesty, Integrity, Inclusiveness,” “Fair Pay Minimum Wage = Life,” “Clean Air, Clean Water,” “Planned Parenthood,” “Yes We Can, Yes We Will,” “Drain the Swamp,” and “Michelle 2020.”
Also, “Tweeting is for the Birds.”
One by one, several people stood on the steps above the crowd and spoke briefly.
Alderman Frank Smith, D-3, said Donald Trump is the constitutionally elected president, which must be respected, but he didn’t win the popular vote.
“We also have an obligation to stand firm against some of the outrageous and some of the undemocratic, and some of the truly reprehensible things that have come up in this rancorous campaign,” Smith said.
“Because of what we have heard and the trepidation of what we go into this new administration with, it is important that we all gather together,” Smith said.
There is an obligation to oppose injustice, incursions against the environment, “encroachments and the dismantling” of the public education system, and threatened deportation of mass numbers of people, Smith said.
All the great movements began in the backyards, Smith said. Be vigilant, informed and engaged, he said.
“Keep coming out. It’s a good first step,” Smith said.
Milton addressed environmental issues: federal oversight, climate change, a green economy, Keystone XL pipeline, bringing back coal, green energy and a potential Supreme Court appointment.
“The real change is going to start here,” said Ben Florsheim, an aide to U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn.
“Get ready for 2020, 20-20 vision,” said Sheila Mullins.
Joyce Petro of Milford, accompanied by her 97-year-old mother, Marguerite Acebo, said, “Donald Trump said he wants to make America great again. America has always been great.”
Frank Rohrig, a retired firefighter, said it was time to correct “the injustices” in society.
“Women shall do it,” Rohrig said. “Now is the moment for gender parity.”
After 40 minutes, as the crowd began dispersing, Alderman Bryan Anderson, D-5, observed, “On a day like today, I look upon the peaceful transfer of power from one individual to another with a great deal of reverence” for history.
“It’s important for us to fight for the values we believe in ... without stooping to the level” of the campaign discourse, Anderson said.