Civil disobedience during the prez inauguration

Council Member Jumaane Williams stands with zip tie handcuffs as the others are about to be arrested for their civil disobediance action outside of Trump Tower.
Photo by Tequila Minsky

Council Member Jumaane Williams got emotional addressing the press before he and six others sat down in the middle of 5th Ave. at the very moment the presidential inauguration was taking place in Washington DC. on Friday. “My mother is with us,” he said, and they both then hugged.

At noon, along with his mother, clergy, other elected officials, this council member got arrested for civil disobedience outside of Trump Tower protesting President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Among those arrested were Council Member Jumaane D. Williams, Deputy Leader; Council Member Carlos Menchaca; New York State Senator Marisol Alcantara; Kirsten Foy of the National Action Network; Pastor Gilford Monrose, founding president of the 67th Precinct Clergy Council; and community members, including Council Member Williams’ mother, Patricia Williams and Margalit Ewart.

“Today we showed the best of America,” Council Member Williams said at a rally held across from Trump Tower before the protest action. “For the past two years we’ve been bombarded by divisive messages that were unfortunately embraced by so many, and the resulting election showed us the worst of America.”

He continued, “I am a believer in nonviolent resistance, but we have to disrupt a structure that is unjust. We must resist from day one. We’re fighting for everyone, even those who don’t understand what they’ve done by voting for Trump. We are going to continue moving forward because we know we are on the right side of history.”

The rally has been titled “Resist From Day One” — resisting Trump’s proposals based on bigotry and fear, its goals are voicing opposition to Trump’s Cabinet nominees and his early orders and actions.

These include removing the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare, removing millions from insurance and women’s access to healthcare), immigration policies (Muslim ban and registry, building a wall separating Mexico, and deportations), and criminal justice policy (spreading abuses of Stop, Question, and Frisk across the country.)

Concerned with Trump’s promoting racism, sexism and plutorcracy in government and society, Senator Alcantara cited Rev. Martin Luther King who understood that leaders must be held accountable.

Alcatara continued, “Successful resistance movements rely not just on voting, but also on techniques such as civil disobedience, boycotts, and strikes.” The senator voiced his concern to the threat to democratic traditions and values of religious toleration and openness to immigration.

Touting speaking the truth and upholding American values including peaceful protest, Council Member Menchaca added, “In the coming days there will be many marches and rallies. My arrest today is the start of my daily resistance to the Trump administration’s abhorrent intentions.”

Prior to the arrest, Rev. Monrose said, “I stand today to resist because I think that out of my biblical framework out of my faith, it would be unfaithful not to resist.” Expanding on this he said, “Out of our religious conviction, we should be standing up against the things we believe are going against our moral fabric.”

There was a hub-hub of police activity during the actual arrests when the protesters were put into zip tie plastic handcuffs and led into a police van. The seven were taken to 1 Police Plaza and released hours later.

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