Approximately 1700 Missourians gathered outside the Boone County Courthouse to take part in the Mid-Missouri Solidarity March and Rally on Saturday, Jan. 20. Social activist organizations from across the Mid-Missouri region hosted the event. It was held in “broad opposition to the Trump Agenda,” according to the event’s Facebook page.

The event began with a short rally that featured performances from local musical acts and speeches from members of area activist groups including Voices of Creative Nonviolence and Our Revolution: Mid-Missouri. Hoisting colorful signs and yelling rhythmic chants pertaining to various social issues, demonstrators marched through the streets of downtown Columbia before reconvening outside the courthouse.

The event comes nearly one year after the 2017 Women’s March in Washington. The 2017 march advocated for legislation and policies concerning a range of human rights. The mission of the Women’s March is to “harness the political power of diverse women and their communities to create transformative social change,” according to its website.

Now 2018, several Mid-Missouri activists groups came together to host an event that would echo a similar sentiment. According to the event’s Facebook page, the aim of the solidarity march and rally was to unite Missourians in their “recognition that the Trump presidency cannot be allowed to be normalized. Rather, it must be resisted.”

The least qualified person ever elected president was inaugurated one year ago today, and the country has been on a wild ride ever since,” event organizer Mark Haim said. “We clearly need to be standing up to the misdirection that the Trump administration has tried to take us in.”

Themes of resistance and defiance against the current administration were visibly displayed all throughout the event. From the long white banner with “RESIST” painted on in black letters hanging behind the speaker stage, to demonstrators waving homemade cardboard signs above the crowds, it was clear that demonstrators felt strongly against the direction the current administration’s heading.

Columbia resident Zackary Carpenter was one of those demonstrators. Carpenter carried a white cardboard sign that read “Sexual Assault is a High Crime. #MeToo.”

Since someone can be impeached on the grounds of high crimes or misdemeanors, Carpenter said he wants action taken against Trump.

I am constantly offended that a sexual assailant is in office,” Carpenter said. “I can’t think of a higher crime than sexually assaulting multiple women, maybe some that we don’t even know about yet.”

Trump has been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women. These allegations and the 2005 audio recording of him bragging to Billy Bush about assaulting women have led many people, including Carpenter, to take a stand against Trump.

While writing to and calling local representatives is one way to push for change, many demonstrators felt that physically being at the event was just as important. Columbia resident Josie Sullivan believes that coming out to the event, with a pink hat on her head and a sign in her hand, can send a strong message to government officials.

“This is how it happens, one person plus one person plus one person,” Sullivan said. “Maybe one day our governor and our representatives will see that we’re not gonna stop. This is a year later and we’re not gonna stop.”

Sullivan isn’t the only who believes in the power of numbers. Haim, who is also the director of activist group Mid-Missouri Peaceworks, stresses the importance of the American people coming together and speaking up for the kind of changes they’d like to see made.

“We want a society that works for all of us,” Haim said. “If we’re to have a future that works for everyone, everyone’s going to have to get together and work on it.”

Correction: This article has been updated to more accurately reflect the accusations of sexual assault against President Trump.

Edited by Isabel Lohman | iplp54@mail.missouri

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