J20 anti-inauguration march takes place downtown

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Emily Fornof | Contributing Staff Photographer

Participants gather before the J20 anti-inaugural march in downtown New Orleans.

While the nation was inaugurating its 45th President, organizers rallied in downtown New Orleans in reaction to the new transfer of power.

The J20 Rally and March was an anti-Trump inauguration event initiated by New Orleans organizations Take ‘Em Down NOLA and the New Orleans Workers Group.

A group of Tulane students participated in the event at Duncan Plaza across from City Hall.  Sophomore Sam Barton set up transportation for students from Tulane’s campus to the site of the event.

“So Take ‘Em down NOLA via the J20 coalition has worked with me before. I’ve worked with them before,” Barton said. “They asked me to turn out college students, alongside organizers from Dillard [University], Xavier [University] and Loyola [University New Orleans].”

The entrance had tables for organizations to show their petitions, while participants covered the area surrounding the gazebo designated for speakers. The rally, which started at approximately 3 p.m., kicked off with speakers and singers from various community groups discussing the issues surrounding race, the working class, housing, incarceration, the environment, immigration and other issues.

“I also think it was awesome that different groups from the community came together and sort of all worked together around a common cause,” Barton said. “… All these groups sort of connected under one banner and worked together, and that’s something that’s really rare, especially in New Orleans.”

While many of these issues were hot topics during the recent election, many speakers’ message was the need for continued action.

“This isn’t necessarily just [President Donald] Trump, this is everything that’s wrong that’s only going to probably get worse,” freshman Sylvia Jones said. “We were all here voicing out concerns and being one in our worries and our strength to make it better.”

After almost two hours of speeches, participants began marching towards Canal Street. People carried posters and flags in the streets. A van playing music and second-line band carrying an oversized casket stuffed with the Statue of Liberty accompanied the group. 

“We all basically tailed the band entirely, and it felt very here,” said Jones.  “You have to wonder how many other of the bajillion protests that are going on look like this one, sound like this one.”

The march ended back at Duncan Plaza and finished with words from several more speakers. 

“We pride ourselves on community service and connecting with the community, yet a lot of the time we live in this isolated bubble,” Barton said.  “… So if we want to help the community and build our relationship with the community, we have to turn up and support people who a lot of the time are less privileged than Tulane students on campus.”