A Baltimore protest group rallied in their motor vehicles Sunday, urging President Donald Trump to cancel his planned Memorial Day trip to Fort McHenry amid the coronavirus pandemic and the city’s ongoing stay-at-home order.
People’s Power Assembly, a nonprofit organization aimed at raising awareness about issues of inequality, staged the demonstration. Protesters drove their vehicles from East Baltimore to Fort McHenry, bearing signs that requested that Trump stay home.
The White House announced last week that Trump would mark the holiday by visiting the Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, a decision that drew criticism from Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young.
Young issued a statement asking Trump to reconsider his visit, citing the city’s stay-at-home order and the financial burden that comes with accomodating the president.
Sharon Black, one of the organizers of the rally, echoed Young’s sentiments, calling Trump’s decision a “callous action.” She also said it was “insult to injury,” given Trump’s 2019 remarks that the late U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings’ Baltimore district was “rat and rodent infested.”
The demonstration brought together people from a number of groups, from those calling for increased hazard pay for essential workers to those demanding more personal protective equipment. However, the main reason for the rally was Trump’s visit to Baltimore as the city continues to fight a rising number of confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Black, a Waverly resident, said about two dozen cars rode together for two hours Sunday afternoon. The group decided to stage the demonstration Sunday so that protesters could stay safe and continue to socially distance during the holiday.
“Our people are suffering in this city. ... We were aiming just to show our disapproval of this action tomorrow,” Black said.