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Thursday, February 20, 2020

Activists gather to speak before Trump rally protest

Posted By on Thu, Feb 20, 2020 at 5:00 PM

click to enlarge Attendees and speakers gathered outside after the press conference to pose with the Trump Chicken. - ALISSA SMITH
  • Alissa Smith
  • Attendees and speakers gathered outside after the press conference to pose with the Trump Chicken.

Today, Feb. 20, a press conference was held at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church  — a historic building decorated today with a giant, inflatable chicken meant to look like President Donald Trump — in order to address Trump's Colorado Springs campaign rally this same day, and to promote the protest planned for his arrival. (See more on both the rally and protest in the Colorado Springs Indy issue coming out Feb. 26.) Several speakers represented presenting organizations Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains and Rocky Mountain Values, plus other progressive groups.

click to enlarge Rev. Minister Nori Rost - ALISSA SMITH
  • Alissa Smith
  • Rev. Minister Nori Rost
Minister of the church Nori Rost spoke first, and discussed her fears of what she perceived to be America's transformation into an oligarchy, and how there still remains hope for those who oppose President Trump and his agenda.

"But in these darkening times," Rost said, "we have access to a powerful, secret weapon. It is a superpower in fact, and it is one that has not yet been defeated in the annals of history. ... This superpower is love in action — this superpower that we generate, you and me, when we come together as we do this afternoon to say we will not give into the tides of darkness."

Rost was followed onstage by Marie Aberger, a spokesperson for Cut The Strings CO, a Rocky Mountain Values campaign program seeking to highlight Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner's voting record, and how often it correlates with the agenda of Senate Majority Leader, Republican Mitch McConnell, whose special interests donors have contributed to Gardner's campaign. She was accompanied by "Cardboard Cory," a cardboard cutout of Gardner that activists bring to town halls when Gardner himself refuses to attend.

click to enlarge Marie Aberger talks Cory Gardner with gathered activists. - ALISSA SMITH
  • Alissa Smith
  • Marie Aberger talks Cory Gardner with gathered activists.
"Ever since he got to Washington, this guy over here, Cory Gardner," Aberger gestured to Cardboard Cory at her side, "has acted a whole lot more like a puppet than a leader. You see McConnell pull the strings, and Gardner dances." She expressed the importance of holding Gardner accountable, even as Trump, speaking later today, is expected to express support for the senator.

Other speakers included Julian Camera, a representative of the American Civil Liberties Union's Colorado branch, Ken Schauer and Grace Sweeney-Maurer of the Colorado Springs Area Labor Council, and Nico Wilkinson of Planned Parenthood (disclosure: a former Indy columnist).

Attendees were encouraged to join protestors gathering at the Trump rally, held at the Broadmoor World Arena, following the press conference.

Note: Alissa Smith contributed reporting to this story.

Editor's note: A line about the goals of Rocky Mountain Values has been edited.
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