Great di­vide over in­au­gu­ra­tion

Democrats: Cal­i­for­ni­ans stream­ing to Wash­ing­ton to rally against Trump

San Francisco Chronicle Late Edition - - FRONT PAGE - By Joe Garo­foli

Bay Area film­maker Tif­fany Sh­lain was plan­ning for months to at­tend the pres­i­den­tial in­au­gu­ra­tion.

The tim­ing seemed per­fect. Two weeks be­fore the elec­tion, she de­buted her lat­est film, “50/50: The Past, Present & Fu­ture of Women + Power,” about the strug­gle for women to achieve equal­ity. The plan was to screen the film over the in­au­gu­ra­tion week­end as a cel­e­bra­tion of the first fe­male pres­i­dent … but that didn’t hap­pen.

Nev­er­the­less, Sh­lain is one of thou­sands of Cal­i­for­nia pro­gres­sives who are go­ing to Wash­ing­ton this week. While she still plans on screen­ing her film, Sh­lain is one of many go­ing to protest Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump’s ad-

min­is­tra­tion as part of a grow­ing move­ment called the re­sis­tance.

Through­out the week there will be many protests, the cen­ter­piece being Satur­day’s Women’s March on Wash­ing­ton. Up­ward of 200,000 peo­ple are ex­pected to par­tic­i­pate, many wear­ing pink, hand­knit­ted, cat-eared caps as a show of pride and de­fi­ance to Trump and his at­ti­tudes to­ward women. Cal­i­for­nia or­ga­niz­ers say 6,000 peo­ple from the state signed up through Face­book to at­tend the Wash­ing­ton de­mon­stra­tion, but that es­ti­mate doesn’t in­clude thou­sands ex­pected to at­tend who haven’t ex­pressed their in­ten­tions through the social media site to travel east for the gath­er­ing. The Cal­i­for­nia del­e­ga­tion is ex­pected to meet at 8:30 a.m. Satur­day in front of the De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion (400 Mary­land Ave. S.W.) and march to­gether un­der 20 state flags.

While there are 12 sis­ter Women’s March events across Cal­i­for­nia, in­clud­ing in the Bay Area, many Cal­i­for­ni­ans want to make a larger state­ment in the city where Trump as­sumes the pres­i­dency. Few women will for­get see­ing an­tiHil­lary Clin­ton but­tons sold out­side the Repub­li­can Na­tional Con­ven­tion fea­tur­ing Clin­ton’s photo over the words, “Life’s a bitch. Don’t vote for one.”

Cal­i­for­nia or­ga­niz­ers say about 150,000 peo­ple have signed up through social media to at­tend Women’s March events in the state, in­clud­ing ap­prox­i­mately 25,000 in San Fran­cisco, 24,000 in Oak­land and 5,000 in San Jose. They ex­pect more to at­tend as 91,000 oth­ers have sig­naled via Face­book they might at­tend, and many oth­ers not con­nected to social media are likely to show up, too, or­ga­niz­ers said. Na­tion­wide, nearly 700,000 peo­ple have signed up to at­tend 370 events.

Three Demo­cratic Bay Area mem­bers of Congress, rep­re­sen­ta­tives — Jared Huff­man of San Rafael, Mark DeSaulnier of Con­cord and Bar­bara Lee of Oak­land — are among the seven Cal­i­for­nia House mem­bers — and 24 over­all as of Sun­day — who say they won’t at­tend the in­au­gu­ra­tion.

“I’ve been think­ing about this for a long time, go­ing back and forth in my mind.” said Lee, who also didn’t at­tend for­mer Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush’s 2001 in­au­gu­ra­tion. “While I ap­plaud and sup­port the peace­ful trans­fer of power, this is a cel­e­bra­tory oc­ca­sion. And I’m not go­ing to par­tic­i­pate and cel­e­brate him or his agenda or his cam­paign, which was based on big­otry.”

Other Cal­i­for­ni­ans ex­press their op­po­si­tion to Trump in more ag­gres­sive ways.

Or­ga­nized un­der the name the Dis­rupt J20, ac­tivists call­ing them­selves the DC Counter-In­au­gu­ral Wel­com­ing Com­mit­tee have been work­ing for weeks, as they de­scribed in a fundrais­ing email, to “make sure that (Trump) and his sup­port­ers won’t be able to cel­e­brate the as­pir­ing dic­ta­tor in peace.”

More than 300 or­ga­niz­ers met in Wash­ing­ton last week to plan how to protest events like the morn­ing prayer break­fasts and the De­plora­ball, a gala at the Na­tional Press Club on Thurs­day night. It’s sched­uled to fea­ture bold-faced names such as Milo Yiannopou­los, the Bre­it­bart News editor who was banned from Twit­ter for re­peat­edly break­ing ha­rass­ment and abuse poli­cies.

“We want to cause as much dis­rup­tion as pos­si­ble,” said Sa­man­tha Miller, a for­mer Los An­ge­les res­i­dent who now lives in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., and is an or­ga­nizer for the Dis­rupt J20 protests. “We com­pletely op­pose ev­ery­thing (Trump) stands for.”

Other Cal­i­for­ni­ans are go­ing to Wash­ing­ton for more per­sonal rea­sons. Palo Alto res­i­dent and Clin­ton donor Chris­tine Sup­pes was in the Jav­its Cen­ter in New York on elec­tion night, stand­ing 20 feet from where she ex­pected to see Clin­ton claim vic­tory.

“But when (cam­paign man­ager) John Podesta told us at about 2 a.m. to go home, I looked at my friend and said, ‘Oh, no. This is not about go­ing home. I know there’s go­ing to be a march in Wash­ing­ton, and I’m go­ing,’ ” Sup­pes said. “I’m a 63-year-old woman, and I haven’t protested any­thing since the Viet­nam War. But I’m go­ing to (Wash­ing­ton) to show my ou­trage for this elec­tion.”

Code Pink co-founder Jodie Evans said she hasn’t seen this kind of street en­ergy since the run-up to the Iraq War.

“Code Pink — we’ve been en­gaged for 14 years, so it’s nice to feel ev­ery­body wake up again,” said the Los An­ge­les res­i­dent, who co-founded the peace group with San Fran­cis­can Medea Ben­jamin. Evans demon­strated at Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush’s 2001 in­au­gu­ra­tion just weeks af­ter he — like Trump — won the pres­i­dency de­spite los­ing the pop­u­lar vote.

She’ll be out there in Wash­ing­ton this week too, at per­mit­ted demon­stra­tions and spon­ta­neous street block­ades.

“This is a lot more or­ga­nized, a lot more groups in­volved,” she said.

Alameda res­i­dent Sarah Jo Neubauer wasn’t plan­ning to at­tend the in­au­gu­ra­tion if Clin­ton had won. But af­ter ex­pe­ri­enc­ing “an out-of-body ex­pe­ri­ence” for a few days af­ter the elec­tion, she and her wife knew they had to go to Wash­ing­ton. They fear that if Trump ap­points more than one Supreme Court jus­tice, the high court could over­turn de­ci­sions pro­tect­ing same-sex mar­riage and a woman’s right to abor­tion.

Being in a mass rally like the Women’s March will help Neubauer feel like she’s not alone in har­bor­ing those wor­ries.

“It’s im­por­tant to see such wide sup­port from all sorts of com­mu­ni­ties” out­side the lib­eral Bay Area, Neubauer said. “It’s im­por­tant to know that we’re not alone, and we can over­come any threats to our democ­racy.”

Mark Wilson / Getty Images

A crew mem­ber walks across the stage go­ing up for Pres­i­den­t­elect Don­ald Trump’s in­au­gu­ra­tion Fri­day in Wash­ing­ton.

Liz Hafalia / The Chron­i­cle

Sarah Jo Neubauer of Alameda, who plans to join the Women’s March on Wash­ing­ton to protest the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion, says she fears any Supreme Court ap­point­ments he may make.

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