Next Stop for the Resistance: Protest at Roy Blunt's Office Wednesday

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Roy Blunt will be the target of protests Wednesday at his Clayton office. - PHOTO COURTESY OF FLICKR/GAGE SKIDMORE
  • Photo courtesy of Flickr/Gage Skidmore
  • Roy Blunt will be the target of protests Wednesday at his Clayton office.

So you hit the Women's March, joined the demonstration at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, and you're ready for more.

How about Senator Roy Blunt's office in Clayton? Protesters plan to rally at 12:45 p.m. on Wednesday on the sidewalk outside the building (7700 Bonhomme Ave.) to let the conservative Republican know they oppose President Donald Trump's immigration ban.

Organizers say a small number of emissaries — mostly refugees and immigrants — will meet with Blunt's staff at 1:30 p.m. inside the office, and then report back to the larger group.

Trump's executive order, which temporarily bans immigrants from seven primarily Muslim countries and indefinitely bars Syrian refugees, pissed off a lot of people who aren't buying the "extreme vetting" line that Trump adopted on the campaign trail as a more palatable alternative to his proposed Muslim ban.

Supporters claim that Friday's executive order is totally not a Muslim ban, because that would be bad.

"I would not support a travel ban on Muslims," Blunt said in a widely circulated statement. "I do support increased vetting on people applying to travel from countries with extensive terrorist ties or activity."

Trump's executive order launched massive demonstrations across the nation, many of them at airports even as immigrants, including students, children and even an interpreter who'd worked for more than ten years for the United States in Iraq, have been detained.

In St. Louis, nearly 1,000 people protested at the airport on Sunday. University leaders have come out against the ban, and Mayor Francis Slay has called Trump's executive order "dangerous."
Organizations that advocate for immigrants and refugees are also swinging into action.

The International Institute of St. Louis, which has helped settle thousands of refugees in the metro, held a news conference with Slay on Monday, highlighting new challenges under the ban. If you want to help them out, 4 Hands Brewing Company (1220 S 8th St., 314-436-1559) is holding a fundraiser at 6 p.m., and will donate $1 from every pint to the International Institute. (You can also donate directly.)

Missouri Immigrant and Refugee Advocates, better known as MIRA, has also strongly opposed Trump's immigration policies. It has some upcoming lobbying training.

On the protest front, there is now a Facebook page and Twitter account that's aggregating announcements for upcoming demonstrations.

The protest outside Blunt's office, called "Stand Up for Immigrants and Refugees," is being organized by Indivisible St. Louis. The two-week-old group is a local chapter spawned from the Indivisible Guide. The guide began in December as "a practical guide for resisting the Trump agenda." Written by former congressional staffers and first distributed as a google doc link on Twitter, it's launched a rapidly growing movement with chapters across the country.

The guide is literally a playbook for fighting Trump, using Tea Party-style tactics of relentlessly pressuring to turn Congress members against his plans.

Anne Marshall Danis, founder of the St. Louis chapter, says she was one of millions of Americans wondering what she could do as Trump began rolling out a draconian agenda.

"After the election, I was in a state of despair," Danis, 54, of Glendale says.

Then she saw MSNBC host Rachel Maddow talking about the guide one night on her show. Danis, a former Obama 2008 campaign volunteer, quickly downloaded the guide, formed a local chapter and has seen it explode from there.

Missouri could be fertile ground, given its growing number of ties to the new presidency. Trump's controversial pick for labor secretary, Andrew Puzder, was once a St. Louis lawyer. Brand-new acting Attorney General Dana Boente is a St. Louis University grad three times over. And St. Louis native Katie Walsh was selected to be deputy chief of staff.

Blunt even introduced Trump at the inauguration.

A week ago, Indivisible St. Louis joined another group, led by Lisa Rees, that attracted about 100 protesters to Blunt's office. So far, nearly 1,000 people on Facebook have said they'll go on Wednesday and more than 4,800 have said they're interested.

Danis says the point is not to berate Blunt's staffers (she says they've been very nice so far), but persuade the senator to rethink his support for policies that harm so many.

"We're doing this out of love," she says. "We love our country, we love our community, and we want what's best for our country."

We welcome tips and feedback. Email the author at doyle.murphy@riverfronttimes.com or follow on Twitter at @DoyleMurphy.


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