This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
Less than a week after the historic Women’s March on Washington, thousands of people with signs gathered again Thursday, this time in Center City Philadelphia, to protest the election of President Trump and his controversial policies regarding immigration, climate change, public education, and health care.
Among them were Philadelphia parents, teachers, and students.
Trump, along with Vice President Mike Pence, visited the city Thursday for the annual GOP congressional retreat, held at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel. Protesters poured out into the streets before, during, and well after Trump’s visit.
“I think it is really important that we all understand that we have a voice and that nothing happens by us doing it alone,” said Christianne Clymer, a 12-year resident of Port Richmond.
“I have a 7-year-old boy and I think a lot about what kind of world I want him to live in and how I want him to think about functioning in this society,” said Clymer, whose son is a 2nd grader at Our Lady of Port Richmond, a Catholic school.
Isaiah Brewster and Cameron Morris are both 9th graders at Building 21, a citywide admission high school. Brewster said, “Everybody out here should be protesting against Trump because Trump is a nobody.”
Morris added, “We don’t deserve this. We really don’t deserve this.”
Among the issues that protesters opposed is Trump’s policy on immigration and his plans to strip federal funds from cities that have sanctuary policies, such as Philadelphia. In “sanctuary cities,” officials do not hand over illegal immigrants for deportation. Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday promising to withhold federal money from those jurisdictions.
Anne Krawitz, a parent of an 11th grader at Science Leadership Academy @ Beeber, said that the country needs to focus on educating immigrant students.
“It is important that immigrants have the right to be educated in our public schools and not be held in detention centers,” she said.
Jonathan Brownlee, a lifelong Philadelphia resident, hoisted his son on his shoulders during the protest. Brownlee said his son wanted to be there, even though he is just a kindergartner.
“This is something that he really wanted to do. He’s seen it on the news and he said, ‘Dad, I want to go wherever the president is at.’”