Two Wichita community activists have taken on leading a nonviolent protest of Donald Trump planned for Old Town on Friday night after two teenagers who had started it rolling withdrew over what they felt were threatening online comments.
Djuan Wash, a juvenile justice reform advocate with Kansas Appleseed, announced on Facebook early Friday that he and Wichita Pride board member Evan Shaheen would take over as hosts of the “Love Trumps Hate Peaceful Gathering” scheduled for Old Town Square.
“It is a shame that these youth are being subjected to threats and are now in fear for their safety,” Wash posted. “We will be resolved in exercising our first amendment rights.”
An 18-year-old University of Kansas freshman and 16-year-old Goddard High School junior had started the event with an open Facebook invitation Thursday afternoon.
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They expected that 20 to 40 people might respond.
But by the time they decided to cancel about midnight, their invitation had been shared 1,400 times and more than 700 people said they would definitely attend or were interested in attending.
Since Trump’s election Tuesday, demonstrations have broken out in cities across the nation.
Most have been peaceful; however, there have been incidents of traffic blockage and confrontations between Trump supporters and detractors.
The students got the idea to hold a rally because they were upset over Trump’s election, and a KU professor advised the college student to find one thing to do to help people who feel they might be adversely affected by Trump’s presidency.
They decided maybe they could put on some kind of event to help people in Wichita express their feelings.
Local peace activist Janice Bradley said she was invited by a Muslim student at Wichita State University and planned to attend the rally to “show support for people who feel fearful” in the wake of Trump’s election.