Exactly a year after his inauguration, hundreds of people gathered in Langley for an organized protest of Donald Trump’s presidency and the leadership of his administration and political party on Saturday.
The protest, dubbed “Langley Women & Allies Stand Together,” was among many across the nation. People packed the sidewalk along Cascade Avenue overlooking South Whidbey Harbor carrying signs that illustrated their involvement, from “Make America Think Again” and “We The Resilient” to “Serial Abuse of The American Way” and “Follow The $$$.”
Others wore pink hats to symbolize their stance against Trump’s statements about grabbing women’s genitals, while also protesting regression in progressive policies, Russia’s potential influence on the 2016 presidential election, tax cuts that benefit America’s billionaires and the government shutdown, which ended Monday.
Craig Cyr of Langley said the country’s new national reality is chalk full of racism, bigotry, “dark money” and corruption in politics.
“Every bit of that is why I’m here,” Cyr said.
Together they voiced their opposition through chants or amongst themselves in conversation.
The protest lasted from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“I think as an individual, there’s nothing you can do but unify with like-minded people,” Langley resident Sandra Shipley said. “…I feel like this is what we’re doing out here right now.”
There was a mixture of weekend activists and longtime protestors in the crowd. Langley resident Marty Scrafford became passionate about politics after Trump was elected.
“I follow it everyday and I’m just starting to read the book, ‘Democracy Unchained,’” Scrafford said. “I’m starting to study the people in Congress a lot more.”
She said it was “gratifying” to participate in Saturday’s protest and helped convince 14 of her neighbors to join. Her husband Roger added that he’s glad to live in a place that is accepting of protest.
Diane Jhueck, the event’s organizer, estimated that between 450 and 500 participated throughout the day.
“Many of us are just horrified about the entire state of our government,” Jhueck said. “…I think he’s (Trump) lived up to our extremely low expectations.”
“He has incredibly bad judgment and is not really interested in governing,” she added.
The protest effectively served as a follow-up to last year’s Langley Women’s March organized by Bernita Sanstad and Peggy Kimbell and attended by more than 1,000 people. Jhueck and others have also participated in regular demonstrations against Trump on every Sunday since July 2017, averaging between 10 and 40 people.
“We get 40 when he does something particularly egregious,” Jhueck said.
Jenny Hooper of Langley wanted to commemorate the movement and energy from last year’s Women’s March in Seattle.
“I just needed to be present today and do something,” Hooper said. “It’s lovely. I really like it. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen today and how many people would come, so it’s really nice to see people still care about everything and are even angrier.”
Hooper said there are “so many” reasons for why she demonstrated on Saturday, but she was particularly bothered that Trump is not being held accountable for accusations that he sexually assaulted women before becoming president.
“There’s nobody around him that seems to be refocusing the spotlight on the things he has said publicly and the things he has admitted to and bragged about publicly,” Hooper said. “I don’t understand it. I don’t understand why people would be willing to be on the wrong side of history when it comes to that kind of thing.”
Jhueck said that in addition to protesting Trump and lobbying to remove politicians who are “unfit” for their positions, Saturday’s demonstration also focused on the 2018 elections. Jhueck is currently working on a project, known as “Makeda’s Army,” that aims to elect black and Native American women to office. She said the importance of electing people who will serve the interests of the public should not be overlooked.
“It’s really made it clear to us that we need to pay attention to our government,” Jhueck said.
Langley resident Linda DiRienzo agreed.
“I’m still very upset with the direction that the administration is going and I would like to see some changes,” DiRienzo said. “It’s time for people to get really involved, to run for office and to get the bad hombres out of there.”