Pasadena Presidents’ Day Protesters Say Trump’s ‘Fake Emergency’ Is Real Threat

Protetors hold hands during the President\'s Day Protest to fight President Trump\'s fake crisis and racist deportation force in front of Pasadena City Hall.Protestors rally during the President\'s Day Protest to fight President Trump\'s fake crisis and racist deportation force in front of Pasadena City Hall.Tessie Borden, from Indivisible Highland Park, left, Ed Washatka from POP! (Pasadenans Organizing for Progress) and Vincent DeStefrano, of Pasadena, lead the rally to fight President Trump\'s fake crisis and racist deportation force.Protestors rally during the President\'s Day Protest to fight President Trump\'s fake crisis and racist deportation force in front of Pasadena City Hall.Assemblymember Chris Holden speaks during the President\'s Day Protest to fight President Trump\'s fake crisis and racist deportation force in front of Pasadena City Hall.Protestors rally during the President\'s Day Protest to fight President Trump\'s fake crisis and racist deportation force in front of Pasadena City Hall.Senator Anthony Portantino speaks during the President\'s Day Protest to fight President Trump\'s fake crisis and racist deportation force in front of Pasadena City Hall.Vincent DeStefrano, of Pasadena, speaks during the protest to fight President Trump\'s fake crisis and racist deportation force.Assemblymember Chris Holden and Ed Washatka from POP! (Pasadenans Organizing for Progress) during the protest to fight President Trump\'s fake crisis and racist deportation force.Protestors rally during the President\'s Day Protest to fight President Trump\'s fake crisis and racist deportation force in front of Pasadena City Hall.Protestors rally during the President\'s Day Protest to fight President Trump\'s fake crisis and racist deportation force in front of Pasadena City Hall.

By DONNA BALANCIA | Photography by JAMES CARBONE

6:08 am | February 19, 2019


Protesters carried signs and held hands as they gathered on the steps of Pasadena City Hall Monday as part of a nationwide protest against President Trump’s emergency declaration to secure the southern border of the United States, which is intended to provide funding to build a border wall.

More than 75 people gathered to voice their opposition to President Donald Trump’s plan, calling it a fake.

Several protesters held signs carrying personalized messages like “No To Fake Crisis,” “Dump Trump” and “45th is The National Emergency.” The group also yelled out “Emergency … What?” against Trump and what some called his “racist deportation force.”

Ed Washatka, treasurer and founding board member of the group Pasadenans Organizing for Progress (POP!) spoke from the steps of Pasadena City Hall, telling the sign-carrying crowd that he’s had enough.

“We’re not here to honor a president, instead we’re gathered here today to protest against the president, who is so disrespectful of the office that he holds. I guess we could safely say he’s no George Washington. And he lies.”

The nationwide call to action was summoned by California Congresswoman Maxine Waters who last Friday said people should show solidarity and rally against Trump’s “fake emergency powers.”

“I’ve been doing this work of civic engagement and fighting the Trump agenda since 2016,” said Tessie Borden a representative from the volunteer group Indivisible Highland Park, which works to defeat the Trump agenda. She estimated 150 attendees were on hand. “We speak out against what President Trump is doing in Washington in terms of designating a national emergency to build a wall that is not needed.”

Also on hand on what was a sunny Presidents Day holiday was Assemblyman Christopher Holden, who also voiced his displeasure with Trump’s national emergency.

“We came out on our holiday, but what better day quite frankly, than President’s Day to be out and say ‘Hey look we’re going to speak as one voice,’” Holden said. “That we continue to contribute to the betterment of this country. And we have ancestors who contributed to the betterment of this country, who died in wars for freedom that we might be able to stand today and be able to have freedom of voice and the free speech to express ourselves. To tell the President of the United States he is wrong.”

“For me we do have a national emergency — because of all the things Trump is trying to do to this country,” Washatka said. POP! is vocal grassroots organization that supports immigrant rights, police reform and tenant rights among other issues.

“I mean this, we need to speak to our family and friends now who may have supported Trump in the past and are wondering if they can continue with that support,” Washatka said in his speech. “We need to engage them in conversation and talk about what’s happening and what’s at risk. We need to reach out our hands and offer a handshake and a hug.”

He said that people may be frustrated but together change can happen.

“What I’m trying to illuminate is people can get involved locally,” he said. He said that not all the group’s activity calls attention to what’s going wrong today, but also what’s going right. For example on Saturday, POP! will host festivities at the job center to celebrate the increase in minimum wage.

“There will be music and food and we’ll be celebrating something positive,” he said. “Celebrating something positive can change the conversation and make our community better. POP! is trying to offer solutions and bring about civic engagement.”

Republican party representatives did not return calls seeking comment as of 5 p.m. Monday.