The main collaborators on the event were Action of Greater Lansing and Indivisible 8th District, however there were other groups in attendance, including members from Michigan’s ACLU, Moveon, which helped organize hundreds of protests nationwide and many more.
Mark Brown, a lead organizer, said, “We wanted to do something and have it styled, as best as we could, where we could get action groups to comment and speak against the president’s declaration of national emergency, but at the same time make this a press event so it is able to be captured and broadcast on this special holiday.”Brown said people could have taken to the streets as they had in the past, but he believed bringing the press and action groups together would be more effective than marching. He said the event was organized in only 72 hours following Trump’s declaration on Friday.
Speakers employed various strategies to attack construction of the wall. Some pointed to other emergencies that needed funding, Others claimed the action is unethical or illegal.
“The community really needs to say no to this kind of behavior from Trump. He demonstrates that he doesn’t respect the rule of law,” said Anna Fisher, another leading organizer. “Congress voted, they voted that they don’t want the wall.”
At the beginning of the event, a handful of attendees went behind the podium and held lit-up letters that spelled “NO CRISIS NO WALL.” They stayed put throughout the press conference, underscoring the message of the day.
Lorenzo Lopez told the crowd, “The Lansing ACLU is currently developing community forums to dispel the lies, the half-truths about undocumented immigrants, about the refugee and asylum seekers.Our goal is to educate everyone in the area on the issues so that people have a better understanding of the truth.”
Protests took place across the country, with the Huffington Post reporting there were more than 260 protests across 48 states.
While members of the action groups were the speakers and organizers, community members attended to show their displeasure with Trump’s actions.
“I think that the wall is a terrible thing for our country to spend any resources on,” said Kellie Willson, a resident of Perry, Michigan. “Attending the event “is one of the few ways I can say that I object.”
Looking forward, 16 states have sued the Trump administration over the declaration of national emergency. The looming legal battle will be something to monitor in the coming weeks.