Speaking Truth to Trump on Inauguration Day January 20, 2017

From Beacon Broadside

Rev. Dr. William J Barber II“Mr. Trump, pushing an agenda to repeal health care, build walls, and stoke racism and xenophobia is not only illegitimate; it’s also a violation of our deepest moral and constitutional principles. I would urge you to repent and choose a legitimate path of love, justice, and equal protection for all.”
—Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, The Third Reconstruction: How a Moral Movement Is Overcoming the Politics of Division and Fear 

“Dear President Trump:

In the breakneck, tweet-by-tweet pace of the presidential campaign, one of your comments did not get the coverage it deserved: that it was ‘outrageous’ for New York City to have reached a $41 million settlement with the five African American teenagers who were wrongfully convicted of rape in the infamous Central Park Jogger case. You continue to insist, against all evidence—including DNA found inside the victim and the confession of the actual rapist—that they are guilty. This dogged stance alarms those of us who care deeply about justice—for the accused and for the victims alike. Those young men were all innocent. So, too, are tens of thousands of other men and women currently languishing in prison, with no one to help them. It is my fervent hope that you have the ability to reexamine your beliefs. We have a crime problem in this country: we lock up the wrong people.”
—Lara Bazelon, The Last Shackle: Harm, Healing and Redemption in Wrongful Conviction Cases (forthcoming)  


Mary Frances Berry“Since you can’t count on the decreased turnout in a few blue states that gave you the presidency to insure your reelection, perhaps you should think ahead and embrace some progressive policies on health care, immigration, and other hot-button issues.”
—Mary Frances Berry, Five Dollars and a Pork Chop Sandwich: Vote Buying and the Corruption of Democracy 
Thomas Norman DeWolf“I have no particular advice for the incoming president, only reminders for myself that others may find useful—including the incoming president, were he to choose to listen: 1) remain committed to what lifts us all up; 2) support people who are particularly at risk in a world currently managed by those who live in, and spread, fear; 3) stick with the peacebuilders; 4) listen; 5) trust your heart; 6) know that we will make it through challenging times and will be stronger for the experience; and 7) most important: live in love—always.”
—Thomas Norman DeWolf, Gather at the Table: The Healing Journey of a Daughter of Slavery and a Son of the Slave Trade 

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz



“Be aware: there are a lot of us nasty women out here ready to take your misogynist ass down.”
—Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States 
Steve Early

“Dear Mr.  Trump:

You’ve said the US invasion of Iraq was a mistake. Please spare the Middle East and the rest of the world any similar or worse ‘mistakes’ during your hopefully brief tour of duty as ‘commander in chief.’”
—Steve Early, Refinery Town: Big Oil, Big Money, and the Remaking of an American City 


Christopher Emdin“I have written about undiagnosed and very real traumas that folks of color experience in this country. I’ve highlighted undiagnosed forms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in the forms of a Poor Teaching in Schools’ Disorder and a Post Trayvon (Martin) Stress Disorder. Presently, there is a President Trump Stress Disorder. A large segment of our country feels traumatized. Our Muslim brothers and sisters feel attacked. Our immigrant colleagues are fearful. Our young people are disillusioned. This is a real and ongoing trauma, and we must treat it as such by working together on it over time. The first step in this process is recognizing that what people are feeling is real. We cannot move forward with a new presidency or a new secretary of education without understanding that things have been said and done that have hurt people. Painting all Muslims as criminals or all public schools as ineffective is painful to those who fight hard to be more than a flawed and often grossly inaccurate stereotype. This pain becomes trauma when it isn’t acknowledged and people are fixed into categories they are unable to escape from because those who hold power would rather see a caricature than a real person. When Betsy DeVos talks about urban public schools without seeing any value in the institutions or the youth that attend them, she sends a message that turns youth into commodities that only have value when they leave their neighborhoods. We cannot talk about moving forward as a nation without acknowledging our past mistakes. We cannot lead schools if we view young people as inherently flawed and in need of saving. We cannot heal as a nation without acknowledging the ways that we impose trauma on the most vulnerable among us.”
—Christopher Emdin, For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood…and the Rest of Y’all Too


Bill Fletcher, Jr.


“I want our incoming president to appreciate that words have consequences. Speaking offhand, giving vent to prejudices and biases, rhetorically dancing around irrational propositions are all the equivalent of juggling a motorized saw.”
—Bill Fletcher Jr., “They’re Bankrupting Us!” And 20 Other Myths About Unions

Anita Hill


“America deserves a commander in chief who is committed to protecting our women and men in the armed forces from sexual assault and all crimes. Renounce statements you’ve made excusing your own sexually predatory words and behavior, and pledge to charge and prosecute all cases of rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment in the military.”
—Anita Hill, Reimagining Equality: Stories of Gender, Race, and Finding Home 



Rashod Ollison


“Trump, you’re in way over your comb-over with this position, but I hope some glimmer of your humanity shines through anyway and does not implode what’s left of American democracy.”
—Rashod Ollison, Soul Serenade: Rhythm, Blues & Coming of Age Through Vinyl 


Annelise Orleck“Though you campaigned as the candidate of working Americans, you have nominated a Labor secretary who is anti-union, anti-minimum wage, believes workers don’t deserve breaks, and has sworn to replace workers with robots if he can—and you are working with Republicans in Congress who have vowed to cut Medicare and Medicaid. So you need to show us exactly how you plan to make life better for the American worker.”
—Annelise Orleck, Storming Caesar’s Palace: How Black Mothers Fought Their Own War on Poverty 

Stacey Patton


“Dear Donald Trump:

Unlike past presidents who cared about the legacy of the office and tried to maintain the dignity of the role, it is clear that you only care about your power and exercising it no matter the consequences, and so there isn’t much to say to you. Instead, I wish to ask this nation, especially those in power and with privilege, to stand up, be courageous, and reject Trump and all the evil he stands for!”
—Dr. Stacey Patton, Spare the Kids: Why Whupping Children Won’t Save Black America 



Jonathan Rosenblum“You can’t fix the economy if you don’t expand the legal rights and benefits of all workers, including those doing independent contracting, gig work, part-time and temporary jobs, outsourcing, domestic and farm work, and day labor.”
—Jonathan Rosenblum, Beyond $15: Immigrant Workers, Faith Activists, and the Revival of the Labor Movement


Jeanne Theoharis“Fourteen states had new voter restrictions on the books for 2016. The Electoral College, created to protect the slave states, gives disproportionate weight to smaller, whiter states. 6.1 million Americans were disfranchised due to felon disfranchisement laws on the books in many states. John Lewis questioned the legitimacy of Trump’s election given the influence of Russia—but much closer to home, our democracy was hacked by these new laws and old practices.”
—Jeanne Theoharis, The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks


Rafia Zakaria


“Muslim Americans are as true and proud as any other Americans, and the affiliation of an entire faith with the evil of terrorism is one of the cruelest injustices of our age.”
—Rafia Zakaria, The Upstairs Wife: An Intimate History of Pakistan


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