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By Katrina Margolis
Hometown Weekly Reporter
On Friday, January 20, the 45th President of the United States was sworn into office. The election leading up to his victory was one of the most divisive in US history. However, President Trump’s inauguration did not mark end of these strong feelings. All across the country, citizens held inauguration protests, and Massachusetts was no different. Members of the Peace Abbey and general public of Sherborn and the surrounding towns gathered at the Peace Memorial to express how they felt about, in the words of a protester: “[The] highest office in the land behind held by someone who mocks people with disabilities and has sought to spread sexism, racism, xenophobia, hatred, fear and division in America.”
The gathering began with individual community members reading pre-written explanations as to why they disagree with what President Trump’s stance on various issues. These included women, bigotry, health, capitalism, animals, climate, disabilities, religious tolerance, and nuclear power. Each topic had a printed sign, which was then attached to a piece of a chain. As each topic was read, the pieces were joined together to create a larger chain.
The topic of women’s rights was particularly poignant, considering the national Women’s March that was held the following day. “He is a self-professed sexual predator who has done all he can to try to lead us backwards to a time when the only accessible roles for women were as wives, breeders and servants,” one community member said. “Women love our country and the world, we recognize that Trump does not see us as human. We are mobilizing our forces. Trump cannot trample on our bodies or our rights.”
After the topic of women’s rights, a man from Millis spoke regarding religious freedom. “It is not religion of any kind in any place that ought to be opposed, but the bigotry, hatred, and violence, just as we oppose these same things when they come from voices that are secular,” he said. “We oppose a ban on particular religious groups.”
A number of those in attendance had disabilities, making the topic that much more poignant. One woman spoke regarding her own disability and her concerns with President Trump. “I wonder if Trump and I were in the same room, would he even see me as a person?” she mused. “I believe he would do anything he could to escape and get out of the room as quickly as possible.” This same woman led community members in a march from the peace memorial to the street. A group of twelve or so police officers awaited them.
“If you do not plan on practicing civil disobedience, get out of the road now!” one man said. After a warning, a handful of community members were arrested for disturbing the peace and being in the road.
Faith, a community member in attendance, said: “As an active member of Pax Christi, I am very concerned about the bigotry that I see coming into office.”
There can be no doubt that these community members have made their voices heard.