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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 Donald Trump’s victory was one of the most divisive in US history. However, President Trump’s inauguration did not mark the end of these strong feelings. All across the country, citizens held inauguration protests. Massachusetts was no different. Community members gathered in the Needham Town Common to voice their opinions about the new President.
Clark Taylor led the proceedings, gathering all those in attendance towards the side of the Common so that those driving by could see signs and the demonstration. “I want to begin with a word of hope, and that is the thing that motivates me, the thing that gives me hope,” Taylor began. “People are gathering all over the country, not just today but tomorrow in the hundreds of thousands, and I think that that’s something we can look to. We can have all of these concerns about what is happening with the Trump administration, but we can also have a sense of hope that this period of time is going to mobilize the population in various ways of bringing protest.”
These mobilizations were most fervently seen over the weekend in the Women’s March on Washington, which spread all across the country. The Boston Women’s March saw over 150,000 women in attendance, many of whom came from Needham and the surrounding towns. The morning of January 21, Hersey Station was absolutely packed with Needhamites heading into the Boston Common to join the protest. Wearing pink in all varieties of forms and bearing signs with messages that ran the gambit, the women of Needham and the nearby suburbs were absolutely mobilized.
The proceedings in the Needham Common continued on with a singing of “If I Had a Hammer.” “We’re going to sing that, and I remember it from the 60s, but not everybody will know it, so we’ll learn it together,” Taylor said. “And then we’re going to hear from Martin Luther King’s ‘Letter From A Birmingham Jail,’ various readings.” Pamphlets containing the letter in full were passed around so that participants could follow along. As protestors stood on the Common, cars passing by honked their horns in solidarity, waving as they drove past. Almost every participant carried a sign proclaiming hopes for justice, peace, and equal rights. Taylor continued, “Jim, a Needham Pastor at the Congregational Church, is here, and he’s going to help with the readings and make sure that all flows smoothly.”
The afternoon closed with a singing of “We Shall Overcome.”
“I think that will be a really unifying, bonding thing for all of us,” Taylor elaborated. “I’m somebody who remembers the ‘60s, but that song has been around and used along the way, so that’s where we’re going to be going.”
Despite perhaps being a footnote in the grand scheme of the national protests, Needham residents were nonetheless sure to make their voices heard, no matter what.