City Councilmember Lori Droste made the trek to Washington, D.C. over the weekend to participate in protesting the inauguration of President Donald Trump.
Droste, who was elected to the District 8 City Council seat in 2014, said she decided to travel to D.C. to “show Trump we’re united against bigotry, and we are the popular vote,” emphasizing the importance of staying politically active. She said she participated because she felt that she needed to speak on behalf of her family and friends.
Droste said even though she felt it was her duty to protest important issues that affect the general populus, she was also protesting issues that affected her personally.
“(My wife and I) have a lot personally at stake too,” Droste said. “We have two kids, but (we have) a nontraditional family and many friends who are afraid of their status.”
Protests erupted Friday morning before the inauguration and lasted throughout the day, followed by the Women’s March on Saturday afternoon. Organizers had originally expected around 200,000 people to participate. Instead, they received around half a million protesters. Droste said the streets were “wall to wall packed with people.”
Back in Berkeley, other City Council members expressed their support and pride for Droste’s participation in the protests. They also highlighted the value of such demonstrations.
“(Protesting) creates a spirit of empowerment, and that spirit can take on a life of its own,” said District 3 Councilmember Ben Bartlett. “As far as I’m concerned, (Droste) is repping us out there.”
Bartlett was not able to attend the protests in D.C., but said he wished he could have been there with Droste.
District 5 Councilmember Sophie Hahn said she had considered attending, but ultimately decided to stay in Berkeley to attend local protests with the community as a recently elected council member.
“There are many different ways for members or people of the community to gather in a positive and affirming way around their values and hopes and aspirations, and there are many forms of protests,” Hahn said. “I applaud everyone who stands up.”
Moving forward, Droste said she and other City Council members will continue to resist Trump’s agenda. One of the measures she highlighted was Berkeley’s sanctuary city status, which the city reaffirmed immediately following the results of the presidential election.
Droste also mentioned the signs that read “everyone is welcome here,” which have been spread in various locations all over Berkeley. She said the City Council members, as well as other Berkeley residents, are “ready to fight” to defend marginalized communities and those who are disenfranchised.
“I always think it’s important to remember to have your voice heard and let your elected leaders know your thoughts, and that this is what democracy looks like,” Droste said.