By Enrique Pérez de la Rosa and Grace Swanson/WNPA Olympia News Bureau
Cisco Tamayo lined up to speak at a podium before the steps of the Capitol to share his grief over and distaste for President Donald John Trump. It was Inauguration Day for the nation’s 45th president and not all was quiet on this western front.
Similar shouts of opposition from hundreds of Washingtonians, many of them students, reverberated through the Washington State Capitol on Friday during a Youth Unity Rally following Trump’s inauguration.
“Not my president!” shouted Tamayo, a South Puget Sound Community College student. He expressed feelings of shock and anger, he said, after President Trump won the election.
“I wanted to punch the TV,” Tamayo said in an interview Friday.
Since he won the election, Trump’s controversial statements have inspired millions of people across the country to protest and rally. The nation’s Electoral College certified trump’s victory in December, even though he lost the popular vote by nearly three million to his Democrat opponent Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Besides Olympia, Inauguration Day protests will also take place on Saturday in cities throughout Washington state, including Bellingham, Walla Walla and Seattle.
As a member of the Olympia Confront the Climate, a movement that proposes potential alternatives to fossil fuel, Todd Davidson said he is concerned about Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency appointment, Scott Pruitt. Pruitt has expressed skepticism regarding human-created climate change.
Olympia High School junior Billie Edward said she attended the rally to oppose the racism, homophobia, bigotry and xenophobia she believes that Trump represents. “I can’t believe we let someone like that in the White House,” she said.
Olympia resident Sunshine Bamber she was concerned about the Republican administration’s push to defund Planned Parenthood. Bamber has depended on the organization’s services in the past.
Some signs at the rally read “Unfit + illegitimate” and “Trump is unstable.” Others called attention to environmental, LGBTQ+, and immigration issues.
Now that Trump is officially president, attendees at the Youth Unity Rally say they won’t stop making their voices heard.
“My plan for the next four years is to fight, never give up and to speak my word,” Tamayo said.
On the day of the election, Evergreen State College student Gray Hunter said he watched with disbelief and despair as the electoral votes began adding up in Trump’s favor.
“At first I felt like there was nothing I could do but go out and drink,” Hunter said.
After attending rallies and protests that followed the 2016 Presidential Election, Hunter said he is inspired to get more politically involved to continue the movement. “A lot of people are out here today, but we need to keep going,” he said.
Show of support
Not everyone at the rally felt the same discouragement about the election. Michael Bane, from Lacey, stood on the steps wearing blue “Trump-Pence” campaign signs in support of the new president.
“They’re here supporting their views, and I’m here supporting mine,” Bane said of the protestors. “He’s elected by the people of America by the system that we have in place. I’m here to support him hoping we can make America great again.”
According to Bane, some attendees harassed him, questioned what he was doing at the rally, and told him that he didn’t belong there. It’s contrary to the rally’s message of acceptance, he said. He hopes Americans will be more united in the future.
“Stand up and fight for America, all of us, let’s come together,” he said.
Some attending believe they had already begun the process of bridging the divide. Kaleb Jarman, a self-described staunch conservative and student of Olympia High School, attended the event to extend an olive branch.
“I want to try to understand what people are doing, what they’re feeling,” he said. “I think that’s very important. My view isn’t the only one in this country.”
Attending the rally gave some attendees a sense of hope.
“I feel more united now with all these different types of people around me,” Tamayo said. “I feel more safe and I feel more loved now with these people.”
(This story is part of a series of news reports from the Washington State Legislature provided through a reporting internship sponsored by the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association Foundation. Reach reporters Enrique Pérez de la Rosa at email@example.com and Grace Swanson at firstname.lastname@example.org.)