‘Out now!’: Penn students join protests outside President Trump’s Kitchener town hall

Protesters and supporters of President Donald Trump gathered outside Independence Hall on Tuesday evening and put up signs.

Photo credit: Sukhmani Kaur

When the Wharton graduate and President Donald Trump downplayed the COVID-19 crisis and racial tensions in a city hall Tuesday evening in Kitchener in 1968, protesters gathered outside the venue demanding his impeachment.

The event, titled “The President and the People,” took place at the National Constitution Center, hosted by ABC news anchor George Stephanopoulos. The event’s personal attendees wore masks and sat more than three feet apart, in accordance with state-mandated social distancing guidelines.

At least 200 people gathered outside the venue for an anti-Trump demonstration organized by Refuse Fascism Kitchener and the Penn Community for Justice. Protesters made speeches and sang slogans such as “Out Now” and “Black Lives Matter” throughout the event.

According to ABC News, this visit marks the second time Trump has been to Pennsylvania in the past three weeks when he visited Old Forge to host a rally on Aug. 20. Currently, Democratic presidential candidate and former Penn professor Joe Biden leads Trump in the decisive battlefield state by seven points. Biden’s runmate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) Is due to camp in Kitchener next week as the former vice president runs a town hall in Scranton.

With COVID-19 cases on the rise in many states, several voters asked Trump for his thoughts on the importance of social precautions, as well as the Trump administration’s overall approach to the pandemic.

Ajani Powell, a Pittsburgh college student, asked: “If you believe it is the president’s responsibility to protect America, then why downplay a pandemic known to disproportionately affect families and low-income minorities harm? ”

Trump replied, “I didn’t downplay it. I hyped it up in terms of the action in many ways. ”

Credit: Kylie Cooper Protesters gathered in Independence Mall, which is marked by Independence Hall at one end and the National Constitution Center at the other.

He referred to the travel bans he imposed on Europe and China at the start of the pandemic’s spread in March, claiming that he had saved lives through this “action”. But journalist Bob Woodward reported in his new book “Rage” that Trump knew the virus was “deadly stuff” but wanted to downplay it. “I still like to downplay it because I don’t want to panic,” Trump told Woodward.

Another city hall visitor, Pastor Carl Day of Kitchener, questioned Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again”. Ask the President when exactly there was a time when the country was considered “great” for African Americans. He urged Trump to recognize that there is a racial problem in the United States.

In response, Trump said he personally had “a great respect for all races” and said before the pandemic of black Americans “had the best employment numbers they ever had”.

The day went on to ask about racial disparities in the context of “large, big cities where the majority of African Americans are underserved and underserved”.

Trump denied any current racial and economic inequality, citing the economic inequality of former President Obama and now candidate Biden as a “record” during their tenure. Prior to the pandemic, he said that “African Americans, the black community, do better than them.” had ever done by far. ”

According to the 2019 US Census, the black population makes up 43.6 percent of Kitchener County. The investigator reported that black and Hispanic workers were more likely to have low-wage jobs with no paid time off or health insurance. Contrary to Trump’s claims, the COVID-19 pandemic has been labeled a “magnifying glass” for long-standing health and income gaps that already existed for minorities in cities like Kitchener.

Photo credit: Kylie Cooper

Zoe Sturges shared her experience with the police force as a kindergarten teacher in north Kitchener.

Outside the center, protesters held pictures of victims of police brutality and banners highlighting the deaths of 200,000 Americans due to COVID-19 with the hashtag #TrumpKnew, referring to Trump’s early knowledge of the virus’s death.

2016 college graduate Zoe Sturges, who also graduated from School of Education in 2017, spoke at the protest. Sturges, who is now a kindergarten teacher in North Kitchener, spoke about the event where she started protesting: When one of her six year old students called 911 and the police came and handcuffed the kindergarten teacher to “teach him a lesson. ”

“Trump is a serious threat to our nation, and unfortunately I know that firsthand. [Trump] went to my college which is the University of Pennsylvania. While many people in town were very upset that he was elected, there were people at the business school he graduated from who were very excited, “she told the crowd.” And when I went outside on that election night and marched through the street … and when they saw me they surrounded me by a mailbox and called me a [N-word]. And that was the first day that Trump was elected. ”

College senior Kara Cloud also spoke at the protest as a Penn Community for Justice spokesman.

“Penn likes to ignore the fact that they produced one of the most anti-intellectual, violent, racist and fascist political figures of our lives,” she said. “But as a student at this institution, I can really say that it is no coincidence.” This neo-Nazi came from the University of Pennsylvania, an institution that maintains white supremacy by exploiting our city’s labor and land and terrorizing West Kitchener. An institution that neglects its extremely diverse student body and staff, and an institution that contributes significantly to overpolicing and violence against our fellow citizens. ”

Photo credit: Sukhmani Kaur

College senior Kara Cloud was the spokesperson for Penn Community for Justice.

After President Trump’s visit to Kitchener, Biden released a statement criticizing his handling of the pandemic and the imposition of “tax fraud” on behalf of the country’s richest citizens.

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“Long before COVID-19 spread to Kitchener, President Trump’s failed leadership was felt in every corner of the city. Pennsylvanians deserve better. As president, I will restore the leadership that has been missing in the White House for four years and help working families recover from this crisis and rebuild better than before, “Biden wrote.

Nationally, Biden is ahead of Trump at 51 to 42 percent, but leads by seven points in several major swing states, including Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, by a smaller margin. In Florida he leads with one and in Wisconsin with eight.

The program aired 49 days before the election and two weeks before Trump will participate in his first live debate with Biden, which will be held in Cleveland on September 29. Two more debates are planned.

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