25 Millennials Occupy Speaker Ryan’s Office
Demand He Publically Un-Endorse Trump & Reject GOP’s Dog-Whistle Racism
New Millennial-Led Campaign #AllOfUs2016 Vows to Challenge GOP Racism
Washington, DC -- This morning, less than 24 hours since Donald Trump repeated his call for expansive racial profiling, a multiracial group of 25 young leaders began a sit-in at Speaker Paul Ryan’s office. The occupiers are demanding that Ryan publicly reject Donald Trump and disown the 50 years of dog whistle racism that led to Trump’s nomination.
While both major party candidates struggle to attract young voters, #AllOfUs2016, a new millennial campaign leading the sit-in, is challenging what they call the “strategic racism” of the GOP, while building a political home for voters dissatisfied with the politics of hate and greed.
“For decades now the Republican Party’s electoral strategy has played on voters’ fears and prejudices,” said Waleed Shahid, a founder of #AllOfUs2016. “They use coded racial appeals to divide us. They point the finger at immigrants, Muslims, black youth, and anyone else they can scapegoat. And while we’re blaming each other, a ruling class of oligarches and billionaries have been rigging the system to benefit only themselves.”
As Speaker Ryan’s office filled with signs saying #GOPCausedTrump and #TrumpVsAllOfUs, young leaders from racial, economic, and climate justice movements spoke out about how the GOP’s dog-whistle racism has poisoned American politics, and how Trump’s rise poses an increasing threat to all Americans. The group is working to defeat Trump on November 8th, and plans to continue its work challenging racism and economic inequality—pressuring both political parties—after the election.
“In nominating Donald Trump, the GOP has found a candidate consistent with its long history of racism,” said Ashley Williams, a racial justice organizer in North Carolina. “Since the civil rights era, Republicans have won political power by combining suppression of the black vote with racist political promises.” Williams pointed to the fact that voters in Williams’ home state will cast ballots in districts the GOP has unconstitutionally gerrymandered in order to weaken the power of black votes. “The same strategy that suppresses black votes for political power once enslaved Africans for economic power.”
“Millennial-led social movements from Occupy Wall Street to immigrants rights to the Movement for Black Lives have revealed how deeply young people dream of an American democracy that works for all of us — not just the privileged few,” said Yong Jung Cho, a leader in the climate justice movement and a founder of #AllOfUs2016. “We will fight to make America a beloved community in which we take care of each other and everyone is respected and valued.”
The leaders of the sit-in say they will refuse to leave Ryan’s office even under threat of arrest. Since Trump received the GOP nomination, only 11 of Ryan’s Republican colleagues in the House have voiced opposition to Trump, while 184 Republican Representatives either endorse or support Trump’s hate-fueled campaign. As of this release, Ryan had made no comment on the occupation in his office.
“On November 8th, we have to send a clear and unequivocal message that America rejects Trump’s reckless politics of hate,” said Waleed Shahid. “But it’s not enough to defeat Trump. We need to confront the injustices and the gross inequality that has made Trump’s rise possible.”
UPDATE: 11 young leaders were arrested by Capitol Police during the course of the sit-in.