Representatives from dozens of community organizations announced plans for a march through downtown Los Angeles on Friday to protest the inauguration of Donald Trump, decry racism and oppose efforts to begin mass deportations of immigrants living in the country illegally.
Participants are expected to gather at 11 a.m. Friday at Olympic Boulevard and Figueroa Street, and march toward City Hall. Organizers called for residents to skip work and school and take part in the march.
“We’re saying that we’re going to organize and use love to defend our communities,” said Ron Gochez of Union del Barrio. “That’s why we have the obligation to come out, everybody, this Friday at Staples Center — united to send a message that we are not afraid.”
It was unclear how many people are expected to attend, but organizers said they anticipate tens of thousands of people to join the demonstration.
The Los Angeles Police Department is aware of the protests and will have a beefed up presence downtown and elsewhere on Friday.
“We will be there to make sure the protesters are kept safe,” Officer Sal Ramirez of the LAPD’s Media Relations Section said.
The department will be on maximum deployment, he said, adding that officers who aren’t on vacation will likely be on duty on Inauguration Day.
While organizers of the march called on students to skip school on Friday, the Los Angeles Unified School District announced that it has declared Friday “Unity Day 2017” at its campuses. According to the district, the day will be designed “to encourage students to participate in the civic-engagement process and to promote schools as safe and appropriate venues for meaningful dialogue about the presidential election.”
District officials said they have developed lesson plans and activities for the day — geared primarily at high school students, but available for students in all grades. The activities could include “unity dances,” poster- making gatherings and justice circles.
“We hope that students will take advantage of these lessons, discussions and other Unity Day activities that will allow them to participate in the civic-engagement process during the school day,” Superintendent Michelle King said. “We want students to feel part of their school, their community and their country.”