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Protesters come out against Trump’s polarizing rhetoric

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Storm Martin, 19, said she is protesting against Trump because of his ties to the Dakota Access Pipeline. As a Native American, Martin said she feels as if she wakes up in a country that hates her. (Ariel Worthy, The Birmingham Times)

By Ariel Worthy

The Birmingham Times

Storm Martin, 19, said she is protesting against Trump because of his ties to the Dakota Access Pipeline. As a Native American, Martin said she feels as if she wakes up in a country that hates her. (Ariel Worthy, The Birmingham Times)
Storm Martin, 19, said she is protesting against Trump because of his ties to the Dakota Access Pipeline. As a Native American, Martin said she feels as if she wakes up in a country that hates her. (Ariel Worthy, The Birmingham Times)

Protests, walk-outs, and rallies have spread across the county since the election of Republican Donald Trump and in Birmingham demonstrations are also having their say. Two rallies have been held in the Magic City since Trump won on Nov. 8, 2016, but protesters say they are doing more than just speaking out against the president-elect.

“We’re going to turn these four years into the best four years,” said Mark Myles, an activist who attended Saturday’s rally at Kelly Ingram Park. “We want to organize. We can have rallies, but we want to get people out to other events. The next phase of revolution is organizing and moving forward.”

Jordan Giddens, a rally organizer, said protesters want to bring awareness to Trump’s rhetoric which has created fear for many in the country.

He said the protests are an environment where people who felt threatened and demeaned by the rhetoric used by Trump “could come together, and share their fears about some of the horrible rhetoric [he] used.”

Issues such as Obamacare, women’s rights and reproductive health, Islamophobia and racism were discussed during the rally.

Storm Martin, 19, a bisexual Native American, said she has never felt more unwelcomed in the country.

Martin said she has been called derogatory terms since Trump has won, and she is not sure it will stop any time soon.

“It just hurts because you wake up and fall asleep in a country that hates you and you can’t do anything about it,” she said.

Martin said her protests were not limited to Trump’s rhetoric but also because of his ties to the Dakota Access Pipeline.

“When your supposed president is supposed to lead you and have your best interests. . . but he helped fund the Dakota Access Pipeline, how else would that make me feel?” she said.

Trump owns stock – between $500,000 to $1 million – in Energy Transfer Partners, as well as Phillips 66, which have stock in the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Martin said she hopes those who voted for Trump will hold him responsible.

“It’s racist, white America that got him in office, so if he does a terrible job, they have no one to blame but themselves,” she said.

But that doesn’t mean she will not continue to speak out against what he represents, Martin said.

“As a native of this land, I will do whatever I can about any hate that is spread throughout it,” she said.