Hundreds of community members organized on the University of Michigan Diag Sunday afternoon to partake in Ann Arbor’s Impeachment March — one of many taking place across the country today — urging legislators to take action to impeach President Donald Trump.
The march, which began on the Diag around noon, made its way down East Liberty Street in downtown Ann Arbor and Main Street and halted at South Division Street and Liberty, where local anti-Trump leaders, activists and organizers convened to speak to the crowd.
Art & Design senior Keysha Wall, former presidential candidate for Central Student Government and one of many speakers of the event, addressed the activists before beginning the march. She outlined the beliefs and values for which the march stands, emphasizing Trump's alleged violations of the U.S. Constitution and his actions undermining human rights, as the energy for the movement.
In reference to a recent deportation raid effort of 114 Iraqi Christians in Detroit — which has been temporarily halted by U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith — Wall outlined how, as a movement, they must stand up for immigrants.
“It will never be enough to only be satisfied with the rhetoric in these,” Wall said. “We come today to explicitly denounce Trump’s attack on immigrant communities and undocumented peoples.”
Jessica Prozinski, co-founder and leader of Stop Trump Ann Arbor, a group that identifies itself as “a united progressive social movement” in resistance to the Trump Administration, spoke after the march stating if President Trump is not impeached, the existence of our political system is at stake.
“Our democracy may not survive four years of a Trump presidency,” Prozinski said. “We can’t rely on free and fair elections in four years to get rid of Trump.”
Pointing to recent investigations of foreign governments hacking into the U.S. election system, Prozinski stressed the urgency to take action with government officials.
“This is surely a way that a civilization can die,” Prozinski spoke. “It doesn’t start with concentration camps, but without brain and persistence and powerful resistance, make no mistake, that that is where it can end.”
Rocio Sias, who organizes for human rights and has helped families in jeopardy of being deported for over five years, shared an emotional narrative of her experiences as an immigrant, fighting back agains derogatory claims President Trump has made in the past.
“I’m not a drug dealer, I’m not a rapist, I’m just a regular citizen,” Sias said. “I’m your neighbor, I love this country who's given me so many opportunities.”
She went on to discuss how, throughout her work with families through the Human Rights Campaign and American Civil Liberties Union, she believes Trump’s increased deportation efforts are tearing the country and it’s people apart.
“I have witnessed so much destruction from this man,” Sias said. “This is not the country I came to live in. He’s made so much division, and its so sad and heart-breaking, to see this all, because I know Americans are great people. He does not represent us, he does not represent you.”
Local high schooler Amery Chao, an organizer with Stop Trump Ann Arbor, spoke passionately about continuing to resist against the Trump Administration, emphasizing the importance to remain vigilant in fighting against the alleged “systems” Trump manifests.
“The danger in hinging a political movement on any single political figure is that it fosters the misconception that, once said political figure is gone, our work is done,” Chao spoke. “We are standing against everything he stands for, perpetuates and represents. We are standing up to racism, nazisim, xenophobia, Islamophobia, misogyny, queerphobia, transphobia, nationalism, capitalism.”
LSA freshman Sophia Tzavaras, who attended the Impeachment March, said though many of the concerns of the movement have no direct impact on her own life, she still feels obligated to support the movement.
“A lot of these issues besides women’s issues I don’t really get affected,” Tzavaras said. “I feel like it’s important to be here also because just because I’m not affected by them doesn’t mean I can’t support those who are.”
After attending the march, Tzavaras said she plans on joining political organizations on campus, stating the University fosters a positive environment for change and political activism.
Recent University alum Brianna Christy said even though she believes President Trump won’t be impeached, it’s important to express in quantity the disapproval of the current state of the government.
“It’s important to voice what you think is right, even though it doesn’t mean anything substantial will happen, it’s still important to show in numbers that a lot of people within American society are not happy with the President,” Christy said.
A political activist in Ann Arbor since the 1960s, Bell said her time protesting is far from over, pointing to her vexation with the current state and direction the country is heading in.
“I’ve been protesting for 50 years and I’m not done yet, I’m just beginning,” Bell said. “We are very upset with the direction our country is going in right now.”