On Saturday a group of about 40 people marched from the Washington County Courthouse to Old Main around noon to advocate for the impeachment of President Donald Trump and to protect the rights of marginalized people, according to first-hand observations.
UA sophomores Emma Nilsson and Avery Phillips organized The People’s March on Fayetteville: The Impeachment March with guest speaker Irvin Camacho (D), a former 2016 candidate for District 89 Arkansas House of Representatives. This march was in solidarity with The People’s March on Washington that occurred during the same time. The group carried signs, waved flags and chanted phrases of protest as they marched toward Old Main.
The march showed solidarity with all sorts of people, and those who participated sought to bring about change, Phillips said.
“The 2016 presidential elections didn’t resonate well with me,” Phillips said. “Currently, I’m still not fond of the president and his decisions, so Emma and I decided to organize a march in attempt to voice our discontent and hopefully bring about change.”
Nilsson did not know what to expect from the event, she said. The People’s March on Fayetteville was the first one that Nilsson and Phillips know of and the first time they organized a protest march.
“It went better than I could’ve ever expected,” Nilsson said. “Everyone was really positive, really respectful. The police officers were awesome, and I couldn't have hoped for a better outcome.”
Camacho spoke at the march about issues related to immigration, following an introduction from Nilsson. He was born in California and is blessed to be a U.S. citizen, he said.
“We are in a very gray area right now,” Camacho said. “We don’t know what to do as a community. We need people in office who care about the good in the world. It’s going to be up to us to be active.”
Nilsson grew up recognizing that her white family had a privilege that many immigrant families did not have, she said. Nilsson’s father is from Sweden, but she grew up in Northwest Arkansas.
“I had friends who would say stuff like, ‘Immigrants are taking jobs and destroying our country,’” Nilsson said. “I would mention my dad to defend him, and they would say, ‘Well, we aren’t talking about your dad.’ The only difference was our skin color.”