These are trying times for the millions of voters who did not choose Donald Trump and Mike Pence to lead the country.
With emotions running high, about 150 individuals brought their questions and concerns to a Detroit Jews for Justice (DJJ)-sponsored program, “100 Days: Preparing for the Presidency.”
Kary Moss, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan, was the featured speaker Dec. 1 at Temple Emanu-El in Oak Park.
According to the DJJ invitation: “The new administration has put forward a plan for major policy changes slated for the first 100 days of the term. It is essential that those of us committed to racial and economic justice understand, as much as possible, what to expect.”
Attendee Alice Audie-Figeroa of Huntington Woods said, “The majority of people do not share the Donald’s values.”
Following 30 minutes of networking over nibbles, DJJ director Rabbi Alana Alpert said, “We held this [event] tonight to contradict the isolation” that many opposed to Trump have felt since the election.
“The only way to get through this is by knowing more people who share our values and expand our relationships — we have to find each other,” Alpert said.
She then asked everyone to discuss the handout, the Trump campaign’s “100-day action plan to Make America Great Again,” with people they didn’t know before.
Reading the president-elect’s proposed policies and actions stirred up fresh outbreaks of fear, hostility, anger and amazement among the largely Jewish crowd of Democrat and independent voters.
Royal Oak resident Fran Shor of the Huntington Woods Peace Group focused on an item of particular concern to him: Trump’s call to “cancel all federal funding to Sanctuary Cities.” According to MotherJones.com, these are the 39 cities that limit their cooperation with federal immigration authorities with regard to undocumented immigrants in the United States.
“There will be resistance to this and other Trump actions,” Shor predicted.
Moss said, “We don’t know what’s coming, but he [Trump] is here, and we would be foolish not to take his priorities seriously.”
ACLU of Michigan has been “overwhelmed by calls about hate crimes” since the election, she said, so fighting hate will be a major focus of organizational efforts during the Trump years, along with opposing voter suppression, abortion infringement and the harassment of undocumented immigrants.
“People are held for years in deportation cases without seeing a judge,” Moss noted.
With a fresh infusion of funds from the “4,000 who joined the ACLU from Michigan” in just one recent week, Moss said her organization is not only filing lawsuits but also using its lobbyists, policy experts and social media to oppose what it considers to be the most egregious of the Trump/Republican proposals.
“The Constitution is our sword and our shield,” she said. “We’re going to be testing the parameters of what an executive order provides.”
Concerned Americans and “all of our institutions need to be taking a strong stand right now to come out of this in four years.”
Esther Allweiss Ingber | Contributing Writer