#NOTMYPRESIDENTSDAY

Protesters gather for 'Not my Presidents Day' rally outside Great Barrington Town Hall

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GREAT BARRINGTON — On Presidents Day, a group of people protested to say they don't consider Donald Trump theirs.

The "Not My Presidents Day" rally in front of Town Hall was held in solidarity with similar events in several cities across the country. At the peak of the two-hour event about 40 people gathered to publicly to oppose Trump administration policies including immigration and foreign affairs.

Jennifer Browdy, a Bard College at Simon's Rock professor, said she's been encouraged by the number of Facebook groups that have organized in opposition to Trump. But she believes a public showing has more impact.

"Coming together gives us hope and we need hope very badly," she said holding a sign that read "Hope is a verb. Let's do it together."

Egremont resident Thomas Libetti organized the local rally after he heard about similar events in Boston, New York City, Chicago and other cities.

"I thought it would be awesome if a small town rallied," said Libetti who added it felt even more appropriate in the hometown of W.E.B. Du Bois, a Civil Rights leader and NAACP founder.

"What better town to make a statement."

Those gathered chatted among themselves while they held their signs, occasionally cheering or clapping in response to support shown by some drivers who waved or honked as they drove by.

Several protesters held signs that reflected their opposition to Trump administration policies: "Deport racism," "resist," and "Trump: NO. Democracy YES" three of the signs read.

While a peaceful gathering, the protesters were met with some disagreement from others.

"We won! America is Great Again," one man shouted as he walked by the protesters gathered at the corner of Main and Castle streets.

"Give it up" another person shouted as they drove by the group.

Several protesters said a few drivers made lewd hand gestures as they passed.

"There's been some negative, but a lot more positive," Browdy said.

Those gathered listed a variety of reasons for their opposition to Trump.

Alford resident Jeff Rossman said he believes Trump is reckless, and corrupt. Nearly a week since the resignation of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, Rossman called for a congressional investigation into the administration's connections to Russia.

"If they committed fraud or treason then the Congress needs to act on that," Rossman said.

Great Barrington resident Mary Campbell said Trump breaks with what she believes the majority of U.S. presidents have been: An inclusive person who defends the rights of others.

"I don't want my anger to just be divisive, I want it to be really standing for something," she said. "I'm standing for that more than I am standing against something."

Maggie Dillon Katz, a Stockbridge resident, joined the protest to stand for "what's precious" to her.

"Diversity, inclusiveness, women being part of the voice, and also for the environment," she said. "I'm here to stand for democracy, for the Constitution and for all people even those people who are for him."

Reach staff writer Carrie Saldo at 413-496-6221 or @carriesaldo


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