Deb and I attended the Unity Rally in Palo Alto today. About 300 folks showed up on a cool December afternoon to listen to a great lineup of people share their passion, their (and our collective) concerns about the future, and why we all must stand strong together to fight the Trump administration. It may not have been the biggest event, but it was the most diverse and inspiring rally I’ve been to sense the election debacle.
Judge Ladoris Cortel, proudly wearing her “NOT MY PRESIDENT” sweatshirt, got us started with a virtual walk down Pennsylvania Ave. We walked by the Constitution of the United States, the Bill of Rights, The “Newseum” which highlights the contributions a free press has made towards preserving our democracy, and all the status and monuments, and even the Trump hotel. She reminded us of the greatness of a free society, and sharply suggested that Trump should take the time to read the Constitution himself and try see those values before he takes the oath of office.
We also heard from a DACA recipient and DREAMer, Erika Matinez: a woman born, educated and employed as a social worker in this country, but now at risk because of her family history. She spoke of her pride in graduating from CSU East Bay and of contributing back to society. She spoke of how she was given a hand up, and now valued the opportunity to give a hand up to people that came after her. Her positive “no regrets” attitude and strong support of community was fantastic to hear.
Our final speaker was Zara Billo. She is a Muslim, and a civil rights attorney, and the Executive Director of the San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. She talked about how the Trump message of hate has created fear within the Muslim community. She also reminded us that we must all stand strong together for all human rights - even as the fight gets tough.
There were many more great speakers who I did not mention in this post. Peninsula Peace and Justice Center did a fantastic job of including a remarkably diverse group -- all with inspirational stories to tell. There were also booths set up for political parties and social groups to share information. Well done!!
My takeaway: this is a diverse group of activists with many party affiliations and political agendas. We may not agree on every minor detail, but we do have a common desire; which is to create a society that, above all else, fulfils human needs and promotes human rights. The fight is here, the fight is now.