Plans for Capitol Hill Neighborhood Action Coalition, overcoming fears of a Trump presidency highlight election forum

With reporting by Alex Garland

Sunday afternoon, people gathered in Cal Anderson to show their opposition to the election of Donald Trump. Some made signs, many sang, some ended up marching downtown. Many sought to do something more, joining hundreds of people inside the old Value Village on 11th Ave destined for redevelopment but currently serving as the V2 community and arts space.

Organizers called the gathering “a post election community forum” to create a local response to the “aggressive sexism and racism displayed through the campaign.” It included people representing neighborhoods across the city.

“Many in the community have been deeply disturbed by the overt racism, sexism, xenophobia, and homophobia on display in this election,” event organizer Kaya Axelsson said in a statement sent to media. “Over fifty of us have come together organize an event focused on how Seattle neighborhoods will respond to a new administration built on the back of racism, sexism, and xenophobia.”

The format of the night presented the opportunity for the hundreds assembled — and many more from the overflow crowd who gathered in Cal Anderson — to break into smaller groups representing neighborhoods and areas across the city, discuss their worries and hopes, and report back to the larger group as part the goal of “working in coalition to uphold the shared freedoms guaranteed in our democracy and denouncing a political structure that has normalized xenophobia, racism, sexism, homophobia, and greed.” The big words were also met with some small, local ideas for solutions including the formation of a Capitol Hill Neighborhood Action Coalition dedicated to addressing the specific issues around the election.

Below, we’ve captured more images and some of the worries and ideas expressed by the smaller groups Sunday night during the sprawling event. We’ve also shared this Community Post for a look inside one of the small working groups and some of the solutions being talked about Sunday night. More important, of course, will be actions that grow out of the discussion. We expect to cover many of these outcomes in the coming weeks.

What we heard at Sunday’s Post Election Community Response Forum:

  • Gov. Inslee has talked about making us a “Sanctuary State” and Seattle a “Sanctuary City” but that would mean that we would probably lose federal funding. Complacency that we would forget come together and support each other. That we would lose freedom of speech, that media would be censored. That we might accept this regime as the new normal. That fear would divide us further.
  • The fear of our friends and family who are immigrants not being able to be in this country anymore. Gay, Trans rights, not being protected. Defunding of Planned Parenthood and the normalization of hate crimes. Everything that has already happened in the past few days, just amplified a bit more.
  • Most of our fears were centered around surveillance, the LGBT community, women’s’ rights, the supreme court nomination.
  • The loss of healthcare, militarized police, previous trauma that can be reignited, taking care of children and raising them in a world where Trump is president.
  • We’re fracturing our society the way we are marginalizing people. We feel unsafe as women, as minorities, as queer people, as people in general.
  • Democracy as we know it will deteriorate. We’re afraid of physical violence against pretty much every minority group, if you’re different and stick out, we’re afraid of physical violence. Losing rights to our own bodies. Losing autonomy. People are afraid that they won’t be able to decide if they will have a child or not. People’s lives will shrink because of their fear. People are afraid to speak up because if they do, they might be targeted. There were a million people who got access to healthcare through Obamacare. If that health care is taken away, there are real consequences. Shortened lives and death.
  • One of our main fears is the people Donald Trump is surrounding himself with, people like Mike Pence.
  • Fears of complacency. We have a lot of momentum right now, but we have four years to get through, and we need to stay inspired through all of those years.
  • We’re concerned about the global repercussions of someone like Donald Trump and his posse in power and what that will mean for other countries who have terrible people in power. Making sure that we continue to examine ourselves and not just the enemy.
  • What connects all the issues is a common enemy to the American people. Both Democrats and Republicans. It’s corporate money influencing our politicians.
  • Our fear of freedom of communication, press, and assembly. We talked about how the mayor said Seattle would be a sanctuary city and that gave us some hope.
  • We have people expressing concerns about going home to smaller towns and how to handle themselves and other people in a more dangerous situation. In schools, we are taught that society progress is inevitable and linear, and this has been a huge shock to realize that it’s not the case.
  • Our biggest concern is what will happen to the protections of the working class. What is going to happen with unions? What is going to happen with everything all of us workers has built upon? What will keep workplace safety intact? To make sure harassment is not the new norm in the workplace.
  • What is going to happen to the environment and policies and protections currently in place? How are Muslim communities going to be affected?
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