Amid nationwide demonstrations against the election of Republican President-elect Donald Trump, several Democratic state lawmakers spoke to a solemn crowd of roughly 200 during a peaceful “Rally for Unity” Thursday evening at the steps of the State Capitol.
The grassroots gathering was not associated with any organization and had no official program. One of its planners, Kylie Gursky, said it was held because “we believe we must work together to build communities that ensure safety and dignity for everyone and challenge bigotry and intolerance.”
“In response to the election of Donald Trump, many people are uncertain and fear for themselves and their families,” she said. “We gather to say that we will love and protect our neighbors, to say that we will resist racism, sexism, and Islamophobia.”
Among the speakers were state Rep. Jenny Eck, Sen. Christine Kaufmann, and Rep.-elect Kim Abbott, all Helena Democrats. Though some of the speakers and other attendees expressed their disapproval of the president-elect, Eck said she didn’t consider the event to be an anti-Trump rally.
“It was about what do we stand for, what do we believe in and what can we do about that,” she said, adding that Trump has said some “very scary things.”
“We need to be ready in case we do need to defend the people who could be impacted by what he’s talking about,” Eck said. “There’s a lot of people scared, and rightfully so.”