‘Solidarity’ march in Ypsi day after inauguration

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They’re not calling it a Trump protest, but “an expression of solidarity and resilience in the wake of the new presidency.” Here’s the press release:

On Jan. 21 – the day after the Presidential Inauguration – citizens of the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti area will join with numerous local organizations in a peaceful solidarity march through Ypsilanti: the Ypsi March for Love, Resilience & Action . The march will offer a positive outlet for local citizens concerned about the implications of the new presidential administration and its policies to gather as neighbors and allies, identify and celebrate our strengths as a community, and build a lasting network to bolster community resiliency in the uncertain months and years to come.

The post-inaugural march will begin at noon at Bona Sera, 200 W. Michigan Ave., Ypsilanti – across the street from the location where abolitionist Frederick Douglass spoke in 1866. Attendees will march past locations where our neighbors and ancestors have lived in brave and beautiful ways, commemorating abolitionist, black civil rights, women’s, LGBTQ, union, and other victories – such as Huron Street north of Michigan, which was the site of strikes by women clothing workers who were the foundation of Ypsi’ s economy in the early 20th century, and of black paving workers protesting wage cuts.

The march will return to Bona Sera where there will be a creative celebration of our PEOPLE POWER, as well as a gathering of community resources offered by activists, artists, farmers, and local organizations devoted to civil rights, social and economic justice, and protection of vulnerable people.

Bona Sera is disability-accessible, and there will be a supervised child-area. Organizers invite all individuals and organizations committed to community solidarity to join together in weaving tight the web that binds us. There will also be a preparation for the march 7 p.m., Jan. 20, downstairs at Bona Sera, to make banners and signs, enjoy a coffee-house atmosphere, and share feelings and performance with an open-mic.

This event is in collaboration with other local initiatives focused on highlighting civil rights issues, notably including “Our Voices Will Be Heard” – a Silent Peace March & Art Exhibit on MLK Jr. Day (Jan. 16) involving Ypsilanti Community High School students and led by Rhea McCauley, niece of civil rights activist Rosa Parks. 

“We wanted to offer a positive alternative to the sadness that many of us are going to feel on Inauguration Day,” said Mariah Zeisberg, a steering committee member of Love, Resilience, Action Ypsi, the group organizing the march. “ We want to inaugurate our own vision of an interconnected future. We are gathering with our neighbors so that we can know each other across some of the divisions that separate us; gathering together as specific people so that we can support each other better in our own neighborhoods for the challenges heading our way,” Zeisberg said.

“We strongly believe in organized labor coming together with the community as our fates are so intertwined,” explained Ian Robinson, President of the Huron Valley AFL-CIO – a sponsor of the march.

“At Eastern Michigan University, for example, the lecturers union enters into a new contract bargaining this year while, at the same time, our organization has expressed great concern to the university administration over the treatment of anti-racism student protesters.”

“I am amazed by the power of simply creating a space for people to connect who share the desire to create the community they want to live within,” said Desiraé Simmons, a steering committee member of LRAY. “We realize that there are actions we can take in order to amplify the impact of our collective voice. It doesn’t matter if we have different motivations, different histories, or different priorities – we are all committed to bringing our best selves to the party knowing that with some trust, communication, and openness we will be able to achieve more together than we would apart.”

About LRAY

Founded in the immediate wake of the November elections and the nationwide wave of hate crimes and proposed discriminatory policies that ensued, LRAY views the march as the first step toward a larger vision of strengthening community power in uncertain times. LRAY also seeks an online presence, using social media to foster community interconnectivity; and seeks to foster political action, including voting in the midterm elections, and political education about the challenges ahead.

Jim McBee

Founding partner, creative director and ink-stained wretch with The Ann magazine.