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Hullabaloo


Saturday, April 22, 2017

 
Marching for (a) Reason

by digby



There was yet another big national march today, this one the March for Science. Here's a report from Los Angeles:
Ryan Erickson, 28, of Crenshaw, held a sign that read, “I like big brains and I cannot lie.” He said he was marching because he believes facts and science should dictate policy, and he’s worried the Trump administration doesn’t agree.

Asked why she was marching, Claudia Kries of San Pedro said, “Why wouldn’t I be? I’ve been at every march since Trump got elected. It’s how I stay sane.”

Saturday’s event fell within the first 100 days of the Trump administration, which has proposed drastic budget cuts for the National Institutes of Health and the Environmental Protection Agency. Top administration officials are openly skeptical of the scientific consensus that climate change is caused by human activity.
Saturday's march drew a diverse crowd of scientists, researchers and teachers, many of whom said they are new to activism.

Andrew and Chelsie Lee took the Gold Line from Pasadena for Saturday's protest. The couple said that beyond voting they aren't particularly politically active. He is an energy efficiency engineer and she is a customer service executive at a food company.

Since Trump's election they have been taking to the streets.

"With all of the things that are happening right now, it is exciting to be a part of something," she said. "Science is such a important underlying part of why we are successful as a nation.'

"As humankind," he chimed in.

Julianne Cuellar, 34, took a break from the march to sit under a tree in Grand Park. Cuellar, who works at an e-commerce company, had never been to a march before the November election. She described herself as being a casual observer of politics.

Trump changed that.

Since his inauguration, Cuellar has been to the Women's March in downtown, a Tax Day march last weekend demanding Trump release his tax returns, and a protest at Los Angeles International Airport against Trump's executive order limiting travel from several Muslim-majority countries.

"I just wanted to be part of a group standing up for facts and truth," she said. "I wanted to demonstrate resistance."

Allison Santos, a 31-year-old marine biologist and research assistant at Cal State Fullerton, said she had been so busy earning her master's degree that she only just voted for this first time last November. She said President Trump's victory shook her.

"I've never been a part of any type of march," she said in front of City Hall while holding a sign with a drawing of Earth that read, "I'm with her."

Daniel Blackburn, a software engineer from Irvine, held up a neon green sign that summed up how many scientists turned activists feel under the new administration: “We are so mad that even the introverts are outside with people.”

Blackburn said he is worried that the U.S. under Trump will fall behind on combating climate change through research or policy.

“We are losing out on valuable time we need to actually take action,” he said.

Blackburn is channeling his newfound activism into local politics.

He said he has been calling his congresswoman, Rep. Mimi Walters (R-Irvine), repeatedly but said he hasn’t gotten past interns or voicemail.

Walters is one of seven congressional Republicans in California who represent districts that Hillary Clinton won in 2016 and that Democrats are targeting for defeat in 2018. Blackburn is keeping a close eye on that race.

“There is a lot of anger at her,” he said.

Jeniffer Hernandez, a professor and immunologist at the Keck Graduate Institute School of Pharmacy in Claremont, had never been to a protest before Saturday.

But she said she felt attacked by Trump: because her parents are immigrants from Mexico, because of Trump’s comments about assaulting women and because her research lab is funded in part by federal grants.

“I’m outraged. I’m upset,” she said. “We need to be out here.”

She carried a sign, written partially in the colors of the Mexican flag, that read: “I’m a 1st generation Mexican-American scientist not a murderer, rapist or drug dealer.”

But while Saturday's marches made a political point — calling on elected officials and policymakers to fund science that enhances the common good and to rely on scientific evidence when making decisions on behalf of the country — they were intended to be nonpartisan.

“Science is not just for us in ivory towers, or for the liberal elite, and it’s not opinion,” said Alex Bradley, a PhD student at UCLA and one of the organizers of Saturday’s event. “We want to make it known that there are Republicans and Democrats doing science, and we all recognize its value.”

There were a lot of those Mexican criminal scientists in this crowd.

Some pictures from LA and around the country:















There's a lot of energy out there and as far as I can tell, it's not dissipating. The Resistance is for real.

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