Vermont activists opposed to the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump are pledging to speak up for human rights, environmental issues, and other causes at protests this weekend and long after the inauguration.
A group of friends gathered at the South Burlington home of Susan French Church Monday to make signs they will use to amplify their voices at the Women's March on Washington, D.C. the day after Trump takes office.
"I need to get involved; I need to stay involved," French Church said, describing how she could not sit on the sidelines with major issues facing the country.
The women making the trip from Vermont to the huge D.C. demonstration said they will stand up for health care access, the environment, economic and racial justice, human rights, and other causes.
"Democracy relies on participation, so we have to go do our part," Liisa Reimann said of trip to Washington this weekend.
"Seeing how many people do show up—it will help impassion others," predicted Tara Tighe, who is also heading to D.C. for the Women’s March on Washington.
Rallies and protests of the incoming administration have been picking up in recent days. This weekend in the Burlington area, one demonstration denounced Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and another pushed back against Donald’s Trump’s style and urged others to get involved with grassroots activism.
On the Martin Luther King Junior holiday, Martin Luther King III attended a closed-door meeting with Trump in his office in New York City, NBC News reported.
King told reporters after the meeting that his late father would be concerned about voting access and the number of Americans who remain in poverty. King said it is "insanity" that in a country as wealthy as the United States that some are still hungry.
The son of the civil rights leader also told reporters the meeting with Trump was "constructive" when discussing issues of concern to King.
Monday morning, Trump tweeted "Celebrate Martin Luther King Day and all of the many wonderful things that he stood for."
"Honor him for being the great man that he was!" Trump's tweet continued.
A group of Vermont high schoolers calling themselves Muslim Girls Making Change performed slam poetry at a Martin Luther King Day observance at Burlington's ECHO lake aquarium & science center Monday.
The students told necn after their performance that they are looking forward to attending this Saturday's Women's March on Montpelier.
That event, held in solidarity with the one in Washington, aims to send a message to the Trump administration that America's diversity is its strength.
"Everyone has a voice, it’s just your choice whether or not to use it," said Lena Ginawi, a South Burlington High School junior who is a member of Muslim Girls Making Change. "That’s our choice — we chose to use it."
"Everyone is human," added Kiran Waqar, another member of Muslim Girl Making Change from South Burlington. "Everyone is entitled to equal rights, whether you’re a white straight man or a Muslim female."
The activists necn talked to said they will keep speaking up publicly for their values, long after the inaugural weekend protests.