Before President Donald Trump was elected, Richard Hughes never joined a protest.
Now, he’s organizing one.
“This is the first time in my life I’ve actually protested a president. I don’t feel comfortable with him in office,” said Hughes, a Wilton Manors resident who first protested Trump the weekend after he won the election.
Hughes is the co-organizer of the Anti-Trump Human Rights/ Equal Rights Protest, which is scheduled to take place Sunday, Aug. 27 at 6 p.m. at Hagen Park in Wilton Manors. The rally is being hosted by Project Rise Up: Activism Network, an organization that aims to build a network of activists across the state.
“Mainly, it’s to show Trump that we’re not backing down and we’re not going to stand for racism and hatred in this country. He’s shown that he’s favored the white supremacists,” Hughes said.
He was referring to Trump’s recent controversial comments about the violence which took place in Charlottesville, Virginia earlier this month. Trump’s “both sides” comments were taken by many in the media, Washington, and around the country as not being tough enough on the white supremacists, Nazis and other racists who protested the planned removal of a Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville.
“Trump has defended the KKK White Supremacists this past week. Make your voices be heard THIS IS NOT OK. This is NOT America as we know it,” reads Project Rise Up’s Facebook page.
But Hughes also wants to speak out against what he perceives as Trump’s actions against members of the transgender community, including the transgender military ban Trump recently proposed on Twitter. Hughes said he expects at least 200 people to join him for the protest, but hopes it’s more. One of the people who plans to join him is Fort Lauderdale resident Lori Canales.
She’s a frequent critic of Trump on social media but said she’s glad to have an opportunity to join an organized public protest against him.
“Oh, my god. It’s so hard to put in words. It’s just these feelings. In my 52 years of life, I’ve never experienced . . . I’ve never seen racism as up close as I have lately since January. It’s just very upsetting,” she said. “I think if we’re seen and heard we will stick out more instead of just being online. If we’re seen and heard, we have more of a chance of getting things done.”