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Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016 12:05 am

Demonstrators support Illinois electors, decry Trump

Illinois electors prepare to cast their votes for Hillary Clinton at the Statehouse this past Monday.

Illinois electors prepare to cast their votes for Hillary Clinton at the Statehouse this past Monday.

To nobody’s great surprise, all 20 of Illinois’ electoral votes were cast for Hillary Clinton when the state’s electors convened at 10 a.m. Monday, Dec. 19. What may have been unexpected for some was the presence of anti-Donald Trump demonstrators in the lower level of the Capitol building that morning.

Chants such as “Stand up and fight! Smash the alt right!” and “No Trump! No KKK! No racist USA!” may have seemed incongruous in the hallowed halls of a blue state like Illinois, but the demonstration’s organizers framed it all as just one piece of a larger, national message.

“We’re part of this big demonstration today in all 50 state capitals,” explained Chicago resident Erica Sagrans, who helped organize the event as a representative of the December 19th Coalition. “Thousands of people are calling on the electors to stop Donald Trump. We offered our support to the Illinois electors today, but this is a national movement about stopping Trump at the electoral level.” About 40 demonstrators were present at the event and Sagrans said she has found it inspiring to see this grassroots movement of people dedicated to stopping Trump before inauguration day.



Ruth Rankin is not associated with the organizers but made the trip from her Chicago home to attend the event. “I’m here because I think that Donald Trump is incredibly dangerous,” she said. “I feel that he is uneducated in terms of what’s important to be a competent president. I don’t think he understands the Constitution.” Rankin also expressed concern about the way the president-elect has been behaving since election night. “He’s wreaking havoc with how he’s responding to China regarding Taiwan.” Rankin also feels that the protest sends an important message not just to the electors but also to the international community. “I want people around the world to really get the message that Trump is not America. He didn’t get the popular vote and I don’t think the majority wants him at all. And yet there he is, as president-elect, putting all these destructive people into his cabinet and into power. It’s terrifying.”

On a more positive note, Rankin said she was enjoying the sense of community and camaraderie at the peaceful demonstration. “To me, being here today and feeling connected to people all around the country – that’s very empowering,” she said. “I haven’t felt this good since the election.”

“I think whatever happens today, people will continue organizing to stop some of Trump’s worst policies,” Erica Sagrans said. “People are worried, people are scared, and so people are coming out to show that they’re against him and what he represents.”

Contact Scott Faingold at sfaingold@illinoistimes.com

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