BANGOR, Maine — On the same day as Donald Trump’s inauguration, representatives from more than a dozen social justice organizations from the region convened for what they called the “People’s Inauguration.”
“We are gathered here to say that we are concerned about human rights, we’re concerned about the environment, we’re concerned about an economy which will serve the needs of people and not just the wealthiest,” said Ilze Petersons of the Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine, which hosted the Bangor event, on Friday.
“We are here to celebrate all the good, great work that people are doing in our community — organizations that … are working to promote the values that we all care about,” Petersons said.
The “People’s Inauguration” drew about 70 people.
“The exciting thing about today is how many of us there are and how many people are continuing to do the good work that we need to do so that we don’t have to let others define what our priorities are,” she said.
Also on hand were Maine Veterans for Peace, the Maine People’s Alliance, Maine Allcare, Bangor’s Climate Action Team, the Greater Bangor NAACP, the Community Union of Hancock County, Pax Christi Maine, Citizens for Global Solutions, the Peace and Justice Group of Waldo County and Spruce Run-Womancare Alliance.
Common themes among the speakers from each group were the need to continue the fight for health care coverage for all and equal rights for women and minorities, to increase the use of renewable energy sources and to solve the problem of hunger.
These, speakers said, are some of the causes they are concerned they could lose ground on during Trump’s tenure as president.
“We as a nation can only hope that the actions of Mr. Trump will impress and surprise all of us, but there’s a lot of work that he has to do,” D.W. Mayweather of the Greater Bangor NAACP said during the event.
However, noting that he recently drove past a house in his neighborhood at which the Confederate and U.S. flags both waved, he said, “I’m saying the power that Trump is projecting has caused confusion in the nation, and where are we headed?”
“In this moment, as so many people fear what the next four years will look like, it’s time for action,” Sam Portera of the Maine People’s Alliance said.
“That means first and foremost making sure that 20 million Americans are not run off of health insurance this year,” he said, referring to the recent step that the U.S. Senate took toward repealing the Affordable Healthcare Act.