Washtenaw County residents rally to #ImpeachTrump

Sunday, June 16, 2019 - 12:16pm

People gather in front of the Federal Building in Ann Arbor for the Rally to Impeach Trump Sunday afternoon.

People gather in front of the Federal Building in Ann Arbor for the Rally to Impeach Trump Sunday afternoon. Buy this photo
Photo Courtesy of Krystal Hur

On Saturday afternoon, about 50 people gathered in front of the Federal Building in Ann Arbor for the Rally to Impeach Trump. The event was part of a nationwide day, titled #ImpeachTrump: Act to Defend Democracy, planned by Move On, By the People and other organizations including Women’s March.

P. Deisha Myles, community activist and anti-fracking advocate, acted as lead organizer of the rally.

“I’m hoping that we can persuade Debbie Dingell to support the impeachment inquiry begun by Rashida Tlaib,” Myles told the Daily. “The longer (Donald Trump is) in office, the more people are being genuinely hurt.”

Before the event, attendees gathered to make signs. Afterwards, they stood by the street holding up their signs. Attendees took turns using a megaphone to lead chants, such as “Call Pelosi, impeach Trump,” and “Trump is not above the law.”

The event then officially began with a speech from Eli Savit, a professor at the University of Michigan Law School and a 2020 Washtenaw Prosecutor candidate. He discussed Trump’s past actions and controversies, like Trump University, before calling for Trump’s impeachment.

“It is crucial for the rule of law that we do this,” Savit said. “If we do not impeach Donald Trump, we are sending the message not just today, but for generations that if you are rich, and if you are powerful ... then you are above the law. That you won’t be held to account. And not only that — that nobody will even try.”

He concluded by urging Congress to take action.

“Donald Trump took an oath to faithfully execute the laws of the United States. So did every member of Congress,” Savit said. “Donald Trump has failed that oath. Congress needs to abide it.”

Myles spoke about her advocacy work for immigration and indigenous rights before reading from a speech she had previously presented to State Rep. Laurie Pohutsky, D-Livonia.

“I’m the granddaughter of a survivor of an Indian boarding school and I see alarming parallels to that time and today … Going after the children to break the spirits of the adults forced them to comply to a U.S. nationalistic agenda,” Myles said. “It’s history repeating itself.”

She also highlighted her belief that public officials must take whatever actions needed to help migrants at the border.

“They should act quickly, intolerant of such a flagrant attack on human rights, even if it means laying down on the floor of Congress,” Myles said. “You may think I am engaging in hyperbole, but my hackles remain up while Trump is president, and I refuse to become lax on this issue.”

Five other attendees spoke after Myles. The speeches shifted towards a broader discussion about the federal government’s past and current actions as well as corporate greed.

Cheryl Farmer, former mayor of Ypsilanti, criticized the House of Representatives for not performing their duties and spoke about working with a transitional council that was downsizing when she was first elected as a Change Agent in 1995. Jeffrey Taite, also known as Bronze Eagle,  a member of the Washtenaw County Democratic Executive Committee, read from his poem, “Unity,” about the United States’ history of displacing Native Americans.

He then talked about how United States land is being sold to foreign investors, endangering the livelihoods of domestic workers.

“Folks, who should be the most upset about this? It’s we Native Americans,” Taite said. “We were pushed off our land for the American dream of the Europeans and now they’ve been stealing it from their own people.”

Eugene Bondarenko, a Slavic Languages professor at the University, then talked about his great-grandfather who died in service during World War II. Michael Snodgrass, a psychology professor at the University, spoke of former President Richard Nixon’s impeachment proceedings and their applications to a possible impeachment of Trump.

A Vietnam War veteran then spoke about his experience graduating from the University at 63 years old with his Master of Social Work before working at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in the homeless program. He also criticized the information withheld by the government during the Vietnam and Iraq Wars before talking about corporate greed, citing the Koch brothers and oil companies as examples.

Taite then spoke again, speaking about the high cost of recycling and the need for corporate social responsibility.

“We need to make corporate America pay for some of that cleanup. Because we’re the ones that are paying the bill,” Taite said.  

The event ended at approximately 3:50 p.m. with some attendees staying to write postcards to U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell urging her to support the impeachment inquiry for Trump.

Other attendees like Kate Napier, a Rackham student, stayed after the rally to display her sign by the street.

“It’s very clear that (Donald Trump has) violated the law, and that he has admitted to a foreign government interfering with our election,” Napier told The Daily.

Napier also emphasized the need for solidarity between people who want to see Trump impeached.

“The American public is unhappy with Donald Trump and we need to continue to work together to make sure that our democracy is saved and not crumbling as it is right now,” Napier said.

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