Not about Trump: Rally organizers push unity over divisiveness
November 15, 2016
Those who showed up to Sunday night's rally in downtown Nevada City can take solace in one thing: The future is on their side.
According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, the so-called millennial generation tends to lean left. The center surveyed more than 10,000 Americans, revealing millennials are consistently the most liberal generation, with 28 percent mostly liberal in their views and 13 percent consistently liberal. Only 12 percent are mostly conservative while 3 percent are consistently conservative. Forty-four percent consider themselves ideologically mixed.
So it's no surprise Sunday's march was organized by some of the youngest people at the rally, two of them teenagers, who billed the event "March Against Trump. No Violence. No Hate. Just Love."
Ivy MacLeod, 16, Jerron Steele, 18, and Christian Jewell, 22, organized the walk from The Stonehouse parking lot up Broad Street. And while many of those marching, chanting and singing were clearly voicing their opposition to a Trump presidency, carrying signs stating "Not My President" among others, the three who put the event together want to make one thing clear:
"This was not an anti-Trump rally," said MacLeod, a senior at Ghidotti Early College High School. "It was not a demonstration of hate toward Trump or his supporters."
Steele said the point of the rally was to promote the positive rather than dwell on the negative and celebrate inclusion, not divisiveness.
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"We're either going to stay divided, or we're going to unify and persevere for generations to come," said Steele, an assistant manager at the Del Oro Theatre who will soon be joining Jewell in the Los Angeles Film School online program. "We don't know where that's standing right now and we're trying to (move) toward (unity)."
MacLeod said her hopes are that "everyone feels represented by our democracy and everyone will be treated with dignity and respect. This includes people of color. This includes Republicans. This includes Democrats. This includes the LGBTQ community. This includes everyone.
"We were not protesting Trump's election; we were protesting the normalization of bigotry and hate, and we lined Broad Street to show we will fight those injustices with love and acceptance."
MacLeod also said directing hate toward Trump is counterproductive.
"I'm trying to avoid saying, 'I hate this, I hate that,'" she added. "I don't want to be a proponent of that message. If I'm sitting here upset that we have a candidate in office who's hating on people, then hating on the fact that he's hating isn't going to do me any good. It obviously makes me no better than he is."
MacLeod rejects the notion that it was Trump's election, specifically, that brought out the ugliness she and her fellow marchers were rallying against on Sunday.
"I think his election just brought light to issues that were already there," she said, adding she's seen a clear shift in behavior by some since the start of the presidential campaign. She's witnessed people in gas stations and supermarkets making inappropriate comments toward others.
"I don't think it's anything new," Jewell agreed, "but I've definitely seen them treat groups that you could consider marginalized much differently than they have in the past."
"It may have kind of showed people that door, but it was on their own accord that they opened that door," he said.
The three agreed it's important not to generalize Trump supporters as bigoted and hateful or even criticize them for their political beliefs. Jewell brought up a constructive conversation they all had with a couple of Trump supporters during the march and said that particular discourse is the goal for which they strive.
"We had a civil discussion about everything, and it was positive," he said. "There was no blaming. We all agreed that everyone should just care for each other."
To contact Staff Writer Stephen Roberson, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4236.