Before President Donald Trump was elected, Rosalind Robinson said she didn’t participate in protests.
“Before that, I was pretty comfortable,” the Ellicott City resident said. Now, she believes “our future is at risk, our democracy is at risk. I have children, I have grandchildren. I fear their future is at risk.”
Robinson joined roughly 150 demonstrators outside of the late Congressman Elijah Cummings’ district office in Catonsville on a cold, damp Tuesday night during one of over 600 planned demonstrations nationwide declaring that “Nobody is Above the Law.”
The protests precede an expected Wednesday vote by the U.S. House on impeachment charges brought against Trump. For Susan O’Connor of Catonsville, her participation was not only an opportunity to “send a message” to voters, but to lawmakers.
“There’s a strong majority of us who think Trump should be impeached,” she said. “We all vote, and we are going to vote for legislators that support our Constitution.”
Two articles of impeachment have been passed off to Congressional lawmakers after Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee last week voted to advance them on a partisan vote.
Trump is accused of abusing his executive power by asking Ukraine to look into 2020 presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden, putting pressure on Ukrainian leaders by using military aid as leverage.
Democrats have, in the second impeachment article, charged Trump with obstructing Congress by attempting to stonewall impeachment investigations.
The Republican-controlled Senate is expected to conduct an impeachment trial in January.
For some, protesting near Cummings’ office is significant and emblematic of what the congressman stood for during his life, said Betsy Shade from Anne Arundel County.
“I feel were carrying on his tradition” of holding elected officials accountable, said Shade. “His integrity, honesty — [Cummings] was for the people. Unlike Donald Trump.”
Between chants of “Lock him up” and “This is what democracy looks like,” demonstrators painted a grim picture of the current state of U.S. politics, and said their protestation is part of the American process.
“We have a president who does not understand the gravity of allowing foreign influence and the danger it presents,” said Rev. Anjel Scarborough, an Episcopal priest with a congregation in Owings Mills.
“I share [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi’s position; I pray for him. I pray for him every day,” Scarborough said, but “there is tremendous evil being done in the name of the American people insofar as inhumane treatment of immigrants at the border, vulnerable people on food stamps being thrown off of food stamps.
"When you look at some of these policies, they are reflective of a gross selfishness and avaricious greed that just isn’t compatible with the Christian faith,” Scarborough said.
Some elected officials “have been pushing what power can do for far too long,” said Alex Storrs. “It’s time we push back.”
“I feel we’ve got to do this,” he said, and echoing the crowd chanting around him, added that “no one is above the law.”
The crowd swelled as protesters joined over the course of an hour, lining both sides of Frederick Road. In the dark, signs made with Christmas lights declaring “HONK IMPEACH” glowed, drawing zealous responses from passing cars, trucks and 18-wheelers, and cheers from protesters.
“There are lots of people in this sort of conservative community of Catonsville who want to see our democracy thrive,” said Catonsville resident Florence Kennedy-Stack, holding her lit-up sign as cars drove by and obliged.
It’s “democracy over party. Country over party,” she said.
“It bothers me greatly that number one, we’re so polarized,” said Mike Holy, a U.S. Army veteran and Pikesville resident, but it’s also “the hatred. You only have to look at what went down on the border” with the Trump administration’s family separation policy.
Holy, holding a sign he made to protest the ban on Muslim travelers into the U.S., said he plans to rally outside the U.S. Senate office tomorrow with other members of VettUSA, a national coalition of veterans demonstrating their opposition to the president and promoting his removal from office, “to ask them to consider” impeachment “rather than just whitewashing all the facts.”
“He’s now undercutting our national security,” Holy said. “And our most sacred right is that of the vote.”
Standing with his 7-year-old daughter Faye on his shoulders, Ellicott City resident Franklin Shian said he and his wife were teaching their children this holiday season about different religions and their history, and “a lot of it also covers the democratic process. We were talking about things that are considered wrong, and what is considered lawful — sometimes they don’t necessarily link up,” Shian said.
“We wanted to show them that people who … believe in something, one of the avenues that they have in trying to raise their voice” is to demonstrate it publicly, Shian said.
“This is the American way, to participate in your freedom of speech and your right to demonstrate,” said Catonsville resident Laura Evans.