Manhattan anti-inauguration event brings together Trump opposition


The Manhattan Alliance for Peace and Justice and members of the Manhattan community gathered on Friday for an anti-inauguration event in response to President Donald Trump’s inauguration. The event was sponsored by the alliance and catered by Arrow Coffee.

“We’re trying to kick-off an approach of opposition to the Trump administration by getting our own members together in Manhattan and drawing in new members who don’t know much about MAPJ,” John Exdell, chair of the alliance, said.

The anti-inauguration event was expected to draw in a crowd of about 80 people who would be able to mingle with like-minded community members and drink and eat food provided by Arrow Coffee. There was also live music performed by local musicians Steve Hinrichs and Chris Biggs.

Biggs has been politically active for many years, having run as a Democrat in different Kansas political offices, including attorney general and secretary of state. He said he hopes events like this one will encourage a grass-roots movement in Kansas.

“I’m glad to be here with people concerned with the future of the state and the country,” Biggs said at the event.

The attendees varied in age, race and gender, though came together with a common objective.

“The inauguration made me sad,” Kriya Newfield, senior at Manhattan High School and an event attendee, said. “I felt like I needed something that was more happy after that.”

During the event, some speakers from the alliance discussed the state of the United States, what President Trump might do now that he is officially president and other movements people can become a part of.

There was also a poster-making station for attendees to decorate signs for Saturday’s Women’s March on Topeka.

Posters lined the walls for people to add their ideas and comments for different social issues such as economic justice, voting rights, gender equality, LGBTQ rights and more. These issues were taken from the Kansas People’s Agenda’s list of issues.

The idea behind the event was to create a safe space where these issues could be discussed, Jess Kerr, the alliance board member, said.

“We can come together, share space, share food, some drinks and conversation and ultimately begin to think about the larger project ahead of us,” Kerr said. “Everybody is going to feel a little at a loss today (Friday), and what are we going to do with it?”