When Savanna Warren, 18, learned that Donald Trump had been elected as the 45th president of the United States, she said a wave of loneliness overcame her.
“I felt like the populace was against me,” she said.
So she and three of her friends from the local Running Start program organized a peaceful demonstration in hopes of uniting a community of togetherness.
On Sunday night about 300 people joined them in a candlelight vigil outside the County Courthouse steps in a “Love Trumps Hate” demonstration.
Lilia Riordian-Rodgers, 18, co-organizer of the event said she didn’t expect so many to turn up. She and her peers handed out candles and safety pins to those in attendance. Fastening a safety pin to one’s clothing shows the wearer is an ally to groups who have been defamed by Trump and to show that they stand in solidarity with those who might be afraid.
Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart said he came to the event to support the youth who organized it, and because coming together is a powerful thing. He said on Tuesday night he burst into tears when he realized Trump had won the presidential election.
“I burst into tears because I’m afraid for young women in our society, because I’m afraid for minorities in our society,” he said.
He urged the hundreds in attendance to not sit back when injustices occur in the community, but instead call out hatred and take a stand.
The Rev. Jim CastroLang, chair of the Spokane County Democrats, said fighting against hate means meeting and listening to others in the Spokane community, “even those who we don’t understand why they did what they did Tuesday night.”
City Council Member Breean Beggs said the community needs to seek out those who are fearful or worry they may lose their rights when Trump takes office.
“We need to stand with our neighbors and bring them in,” he said.
The Rev. Tod Ekloff of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Spokane applauded the group for protesting peacefully, but said he prefers demonstration to protest. He does this, he said, by demonstrating the behaviors and values he expects from others.
He closed the vigil by repeating words from his morning’s sermon.
“If you feel helpless, help someone. If you feel afraid, encourage someone. If you feel sad, comfort someone. If you feel alone, take someone by the hand,” he said. “If you can’t stand what happened this week, then take a stand.”
Other groups have organized additional demonstrations against a Trump presidency and more demonstrations are scheduled next week, including a march next weekend through downtown Spokane.
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