From Inside and Out, Resistance Aims to Counter Trump Address to Congress
"We're here to remind him that not only are his policies unpopular, they are also destructive to the fabric of this nation and our planet"
President Donald Trump will address Congress for the first time Tuesday night, where his speech is expected to be met with resistance inside the chamber from Democrats and protests outside of the Capitol.
Activists will gather in Lafayette Park near the White House ahead of the speech to hold a "Resistance Address," discussing how to defend human rights and civil liberties in a time of "moral crisis."
"The Trump administration does not represent the values of most Americans," said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, one of the groups organizing the rally. "We're here to remind him that not only are his policies unpopular, they are also destructive to the fabric of this nation and our planet. That's why the state of the resistance is stronger than ever—and will continue to grow."
Speakers at the event will include Rev. Lennox Yearwood of the Hip Hop Caucus, Larry Cohen of Our Revolution, Faiz Shakir of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Sandra Falwell of National Nurses United (NNU), and Julieta Garibay of United We Dream, among others. Watch the livestream of the Resistance Address here.
"The Trump administration has gone to great lengths of dividing and not uniting citizens, creating an 'us' versus 'them' environment when speaking to all Americans, it is shameful, and dangerous," said Yearwood. "Only when the American values of justice and equality are upheld will we escape the moral crisis that this discriminatory agenda represents for our nation."
People are also invited to post their own "speeches" under the hashtag #PeoplesAddress.
And during the speech itself, House Democrats are slated to bring guests personally impacted by Trump's executive orders on immigration and the Republican party's attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare.
"It's my hope that gallery is going to look like America," Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.), who will be joined by Dr. Ehsun Mirza, a Muslim-American born in Pakistan, told Politico.
Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.) will bring Hameed Darweesh, an Iraqi interpreter who worked for the U.S. government overseas and was infamously detained at John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport after Trump implemented the now-suspended ban on travelers from seven majority-Muslim countries.
Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) invited Iraqi woman Banah Alhanfy, whose father was also an interpreter temporarily banned from the country.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal's (D-Wash.) guest is Aneelah Afzali, a Muslim-American activist whose mosque was vandalized after the election.
"We're trying to not just tell the president, but we're trying to tell the country, apparently tolerance and justice issues require ongoing lessons," said Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.).
Other Democrats have also vowed not to shake the president's hand, a traditional congressional gesture at bipartisanship, while at least one, Maxine Waters of California, will boycott the speech altogether.