Columbus United March Calls for Community Action
Tuesday night’s March for Justice, hosted by Columbus United, called for solidarity, inclusion, and action. Relevant not only to Donald Trump’s eventual claim of the White House, but also to the attack on OSU’s campus on Monday as well as several current controversial events, the group’s march was preceded by the release of 10 demands for Columbus and Ohio.
The ultimate goal is to make Columbus a “Sanctuary City.” It’s part of a grassroots organization of cities across the nation looking to implement policies and keep separate from any federal advances against civil liberties.
Ceasing any Columbus or Ohio police involvement against civilians protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline, protecting women’s reproductive rights — including the right to abortion, and reforming local police training to address racial profiling and mental illness fatalities are just a few on their list of demands.
It also addresses climate change, opposes a national registry based on religion, race, nationality or any other identifier, and supports the increase of the minimum wage to $15 per hour.
“Show me what Democracy looks like,” protesters chanted, with more answering, “This is what Democracy looks like.”
It was a demonstration of renewed enthusiasm and political activity at the local and state levels.
Roughly a thousand sign-toting rally-goers snaked through streets from Goodale Park to the Statehouse while a bongo drum pulsed behind their rhythmic chanting. At times their verses were uplifting: “Love trumps hate” or “Black lives matter.” Others were more accusatory: “No Trump. No KKK. No fascist USA” and “No justice, no peace. No racist police.”
Finally gathered at the Statehouse around 8 p.m., marchers heard from several speakers with insight on how to promote community healing after recent events. With the memory still looming of Monday’s incident that left 11 people injured and one suspect dead, one Muslim speaker took the mic. He voiced a thought he and many had when news of the attack spread: don’t let the suspect be Muslim.
Abdul Artan, a permanent United States resident from Somalia, was killed by police officer Alan Harujko after running down pedestrians in his vehicle and slashing others with a knife. An FBI investigation shows him to be at least an ISIS sympathizer, if not directly connected to the terrorist group, according to a report by the New York Times.
It is this kind of incident, the speaker feared, that will lead to neighbors on his side to finally give up and give in to xenophobia.
“I’m not going to ask you to give Donald Trump a chance,” he said. “I’m asking you to give your neighbor a chance.”
Four more speakers followed, laying out the goals of the recently formed organization, Columbus United. Five days after Trump’s win, hundreds of Columbus progressives from different grassroots organizations came together to find a way to coordinate and collaborate. They’re all looking to answer the same question many left-leaning voters were asking following Trump’s shocking victory — “Where do we go from here?”
Their answer was Columbus United: a progressive grassroots conglomerate of sorts aimed at combining efforts and recruiting the likeminded and politically inactive in a “municipal movement.” Their hope is to create a network of cities across the country to lead a progressive fight against the conservative central government.
For updates and more information visit www.facebook.com/cbusunited.
All photos by Chris Brinkman.