LISTEN: Rally in a red state: Instead of a Women’s March against Trump, this city’s event called for justice in many forms

On Saturday, Jan. 21, millions of people assembled around the world in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington.

Here in the U.S., hundreds of “sister marches” weren’t all marches; nor were they exclusive to women or “coastal elite.” We’ve seen the images from the half a million people attending the main march on Washington; New York and Chicago and San Francisco and Los Angeles, too. But people also assembled in Springfield, Missouri, and Pendleton, Oregon; across the Rust Belt and the Sun Belt; in small Appalachian towns and major metropolitan areas — all in organized protest of Donald Trump’s inauguration as President of the United States.

Louisville is Kentucky’s largest city, one of a handful of blue islands in the Commonwealth’s sea of red voters. About 5,000 men, women and children gathered in front of Metro Hall, under the watchful eye of a statue of Thomas Jefferson, for the Rally to Move Forward. It wasn’t a Women’s March but an event focused broadly on issues of racial, gender, social and economic justice.

Congressman John Yarmuth, a Democrat who represents this district, was one of 20 speakers at the event. Here’s what Saturday sounded like in Louisville:

Here are some of the people who gathered in protest, in their own words:

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    “I’m going to remain positive because we have a lot of good people in the city and the state that are pushing the agenda and I think we gotta keep fighting.” — Kathy Pleasant (L), 54, Louisville
    “I think as long as we keep the positive actions and everyone keeps that energy and keeps on moving forward then it’ll keep getting better.” — Sade Eubanks (R), 24, Nashville

    Donald Trump won Kentucky with 62 percent of the vote, but the majority of Louisville and Jefferson County went blue for Hillary Clinton.

    Signs at the protest ranged from the serious, like “Muslim Rights are Human Rights,” to deceptively playful memes.

    “I feel like staying in Louisville is a relatively safe area to be in. I’m not sure about the rest of the state.” — Heath Rico-Storey (L)
    “It’s proof of the dismantling of public education that has been going on for 30 years. So many people in the Commonwealth voted directly against their best interests. So many people got caught up in the rhetoric of hating Obama and hating Obamacare and not realizing that’s the Affordable Care Act they’re being insured by.” — Tim Rico-Storey (R)

    The ACA absolutely saved my life. I had gone without insurance for many years because I couldn’t afford it. My union insurance had run out and my COBRA ran out and I had no insurance. And Obamacare came along. I purchased a good plan and two months later was diagnosed with stage 2 colon cancer. If I had not had the ACA health insurance I would have put off treatment. I would have put off being checked on too long. I barely made it to the doctor before an abscess on my colon would have burst. It saved my life absolutely and now I’m terrified any day now I’m going to lose the insurance I have.
    And I have good insurance now. I’m happy to pay for the insurance I have. It is not affordable really, but it’s there for me with a preexisting condition so I’m happy to pay it and I’m terrified it’s going to be taken away. — Jon Huffman, Louisville

    5,000 people gathered in Louisville, Kentucky, a blue dot in a red state.

    Abraham Lincoln courtesy of Squallis Puppeteers

    “It’s more hopeful when you see people coming out and they’re saying we’re in this together. It doesn’t matter what group, what nationality you are. We’re all together, we’re one people. That gives you hope that whatever is being said the government won’t be the one to dictate to everyone else. We’ll have a voice.” — Amal, Louisville (R)
    “I would say to him that you can’t shut me down. I’m a Muslim. You can’t take my citizenship. You can’t take away my faith. You can’t take anything. We’re all going to stand together. I’m going to stand for LGBT people. I’m going to stand for Black Lives Matter people. I’m going to stand for myself. You’re not going to make a Hitler type of America. We’re going to keep our rights and keep everything in solidarity.” — Kathy, Louisville​ (L)

    King Louis XVI courtesy of Squallis Puppeteers

    “I am a woman and I am personally offended by the presidency that is happening right now and I have some concern over my rights and I have some concern over other people’s rights that I know. People of all different sexes and races and orientations and there’s all these people in my life that I love and I don’t want any harm to come to any of them. My sign says ‘There is no justice in an intolerant world.’” — Linda Erzinger, Louisville

    “Donald Trump is picking people for his cabinet that are against what that cabinet is supposed to protect. Education with Betsy DeVos, that’s really frustrating. She hates public schools, how’s she going to do this? And working at a public school I now know what’s going on there and it’s frustrating. It feels like we’re never going to be heard. I don’t know how to reconcile that. I’m hoping that things change but I don’t have a whole lot of optimism for that right now.” — Lisa Hornung, Louisville

    “I’m nervous.” “I’m scared.” “I am hopeful but nervous.” — Jen Rodriguez, Shell Sullivan, Catherine Barnes.
    “[I’m here] in support of LGBT rights, in support of Black Lives Matter, in support of women and women’s rights. Like she said, all the progress that Obama made, it just feels like we’re going to go backwards.” — Shell Sullivan
    (Photo credit: Drew Zipp)

    “I think it’s more heartbreaking than it is feeling tension because there’s so many people who voted against everything they need for themselves. They’re going to go forward and wonder where’s my healthcare? Where are my benefits? It’s like they don’t want to ask where they went.” — Summer Smith (R) with Taylor Davis
    (Photo credit: Drew Zipp)

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