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Second 'People’s Inauguration' held on Trump’s 1-year mark

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Close to 200 critics of President Trump gathered in South Bend on Saturday to reflect on a year of activism and plan for more local projects throughout 2018.

“This is a year of opportunity,” one speaker said. “This is an election year.”

“We obviously still have a lot of work to do,” said another speaker. “And I hope that today you renew your commitment to fight for the radical change that we need to see in our policies and in our culture.”

“Congratulations to all of you for your hard work and resilience in the face of blatant hate, discrimination, and bigotry,” said another.

The strong words were spoken Saturday afternoon at the Islamic Society of Michiana.

It was a moment of reflection and motivation.

“If we do nothing then those kinds of regressive policies will just drive the country backwards,” said Darryl Heller, the director of IU-South Bend’s Civil Rights Heritage Center. “And the statement of ‘Make America Great Again’? It’s not making America great. It’s actually taking America into darker places that we have to bring light back to.”

The first People’s Inauguration was held in South Bend on January 20, 2017 when Donald Trump was sworn in as president.

Those who attended the original event were motivated to do so by their dislike of Trump.

But this year’s People’s Inauguration took on a new meaning, as attendees showed up to take stock of their work locally.

“We are proud to be involved in making sure that all of St. Joseph County has a nondiscrimination policy that is actually enacted,” said a representative of the local LGBTQ Center.

In between making protest posters, writing to elected leaders, and signing up to vote, Saturday’s event focused on the future of peaceful protest and activism in Michiana.

“I wanted to come back this year to show my support to all these organizations that were here tonight that are really doing a good job to try to make a difference in our community,” said South Bend resident Abbi White-Stevens.

“One of the things that’s happened in the last few years, not just the last year, is that these different groups that, as I say, otherwise might not really know each other are starting to recognize commonalities and get to know each other,” said South Bend resident John Pinter, who returned for Saturday’s program. “And I think that’s a good, positive outcome.”

“If there were no meetings or events like today, no speeches, then how in the world are we going to get educated?” said Maria Huerta, who was attending her first People’s Inauguration.

Saturday’s event was put together by the Michiana Social Justice Coalition – which ended up forming after last year’s program.

You can learn more about the coalition, and the groups that are in it, by clicking here.

ABC57 had not heard of any events taking place on Saturday in Michiana to celebrate President Trump’s first year in office. Had we, we would’ve covered that too.

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