By Rylee Seavers | Staff Writer
On Friday night, Waco Friends of Peace/Climate gathered in downtown Waco to protest the inauguration of President Donald Trump. The protest featured speakers voicing their opinions about Trump’s policies, poetry readings and musical performances.
The protest was held in Heritage Square, near downtown Waco. Roads around the square were blocked off to keep traffic away from the protest. The protest was to show disapproval for the policies and administration selections of President Trump, according to the Waco Friends of Peace/Climate website.
“We believe his agenda is anti-people, anti-planet, anti-truth, anti-science,” said Alan Northcutt, director of Waco Friends of Peace/Climate. “We want to make the statement that all of Waco is not in support of Trump.”
Waco Friends of Peace/Climate believe that the president’s agenda is a danger to the United States on issues like climate change, nuclear proliferation, LGBTQ rights and healthcare, according to its website. The group also raised concerns about the president’s lack of experience as well as his racist, xenophobic and misogynistic comments, according to its website.
“We know that the policies that [President Trump is] going to propose will be detrimental to climate, to people as far as healthcare and rights of women,” Northcutt said.
The protest was also to show that there are groups in Waco that do not support President Trump and to inspire people for what lies ahead, Northcutt said.
Eric Richardson, a Waco resident, attended Friday’s protest to show support for Trump. Richardson held a sign that read “Trump won get over it!!!.” Richardson called the protesters “cry-babies” and said the nation dealt with eight years of former President Barack Obama, so they could deal with four or eight years of Trump.
“People voted, Trump won the Electoral College. Now they’re crying about popular vote, but if it had been the other way around and Trump won popular vote, but not the Electoral College, they’d be crying about that,” Richardson said. “They’re never going to stop crying, because that’s the way they are. Most of these people probably don’t even have jobs. I go to work every day. When Obama got elected, I just went to work. What could I do?”
Dr. Blake Burleson, Baylor senior lecturer in the department of religion and associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences, attended the protest in downtown.
“I came out to protest the inauguration of Donald Trump, who is a racist, xenophobic person that has already harmed people, and I’m here to say that I think it’s wrong and that we’re not going to tolerate it in America,” Burleson said.
The next step for those who do not support Trump is to “have each others’ backs,” Burleson said. Burleson said he does not believe that everything will be OK under the Trump administration. He cited acts of violence on Baylor’s campus and across the nation as evidence of this.
According to its website, Waco Friends of Peace/Climate’s primary goal during Friday’s protest was to express anger at the inauguration of President Trump, display their signs, build unity and spread inspiration for the work to be done during President Trump’s first term in office.