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The protest was designed to coincide with the start of the Williams' spring semester today but drew a number of people from outside the campus community.
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The march was on Main Street around noontime.
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Anti-Trump Protesters Demonstrate in Williamstown

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
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The rally came together over social media and word of mouth.

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Waving signs and chanting in the middle of a town where just 13 percent of the vote went to Donald Trump, Wednesday's anti-Trump protest may have felt a little like preaching to the choir.

But for the five dozen people of all ages who braved the cold at the corner of Spring and Main Streets, the gospel of resistance needed to be preached.

"I think it's easy [to draw a crowd] when people feel there's an acute threat," said Andy Cornell, one of the event's organizers. "Otherwise, they might feel complacent.

"But it has to spread beyond areas that are overwhelmingly Democratic, and I think we're seeing that. I know there's going to be another demonstration in North Adams. We've seen things in Pittsfield. All over the country, I think people feel this is the moment to get out in the streets."

Wednesday's noontime protest was sparked by the nationwide outcry over last week's executive order suspending refugee programs and migration from seven predominantly Muslim nations. Cornell, a visiting professor in American studies at Williams, said the organizers pulled the protest together starting Saturday night and spread the word through email, a Facebook events page, word of mouth and the cooperation of groups like Northern Berkshires for Racial Justice.

The protest was timed to coincide with the first day of classes in Williams' spring semester, though Cornell noted that the crowd included a number of people unaffiliated with the college, in addition to students, faculty and staff.


They held signs promoting causes ranging from Black Lives Matter to abortion rights to immigration and chanted slogans like, "This is what democracy looks like," "That Facist Trump has got to go," and "No ban. No wall. Freedom for all."

Cornell said that the advent of the new administration has galvanized a number of progressive causes and helped unite them.

"I think everyone is developing a strategy right now, so nothing is set in stone, but the energy shows people are going to want to continue their dissent in a whole variety of ways," he said.

"One other thing that faculty have done here is they had a teach-in conversation about various issues people are concerned about, whether that's LGBT rights, labor rights and unions, environmental issues, the possible repeal of the Affordable Care Act — a lot of people are coming together who have a particular issue and see how all those things are related."

Cornell said there are no specific plans to make the Main Street demonstrations a regular event, but he said there likely will be other actions by the administration that spur protests.

"The Trump administration plans kind of a shock and awe of putting out highly controversial executive orders and appointments and things like that — with [nominated Attorney General] Jeff Sessions and [nominated Education Secretary] Betsy DeVos going through, there are more rumored executive orders and legislations going through," Cornell said. "People are doing everything they can to slow that down. I think we'll soon see a lot of voters who did support Trump be disaffected, and we hope to win them over to our side."


Tags: protests,   Williams College,   

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Williamstown Panel Looks at Context of Historic Monuments

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff

A sign erected by the Williamstown Historical Commission to recognize the site of the 18th Century West Hoosac Fort.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The town's newest committee Monday got down to the business of finding ways to talk about the truth of the Village Beautiful's founding.
 
The Diversity, Inclusion and Racial Equity Committee discussed two historical markers and whether they do more to sanitize that history and marginalize Native Americans than they do to educate the public.
 
Lauren Stevens of the 1753 House Committee told the DIRE Committee that his group has discussed how to properly contextualize one of the highest profile structures in town, a replica of an 18th-century dwelling built in 1953 with period-specific techniques to help celebrate the town's centennial.
 
"Bilal [Ansari] was talking at the Friday afternoon Black Lives Matter rally, and he mentioned in a passing reference to the 1753 House that there were, indeed, people in this area before those being honored by the settlement in 1753," Stevens said.
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