August 29, 2019
The Falmouth Enterprise: Move To Remove Gets Boost From Visit By Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley
For 106 consecutive Saturday mornings, the grass-roots group of protesters that calls itself Move to Remove has gathered for an hour on the Falmouth Village Green, urging that President Donald J. Trump be removed from office.
This week the group had a surprise visitor.
On Saturday, August 24,Move to Remove was joined for 15 spontaneous minutes by political celebrity and fellow member of “the resistance” Ayanna S. Pressley, the US representative for the 7th Congressional District in Massachusetts.
Congresswoman Pressley has recently leaped to notoriety as a member of a group of four first-term US congresswomen that also includes Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilham Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. All are Democrats and women of color who have been verbally attacked and insulted by President Trump. He refers to these congresswomen collectively as “the squad.”
“To have someone of her national stature join this little ragtag operation was a wonderment,” Move to Remove founder Paul Rifkin said this week as he applauded Rep. Pressley’s “forthright ability to express what she believes in.”
“As one of the original co-sponsors of the impeachment resolution in the House (of Representatives), you can’t get any better than that in terms of joining us,” Mr. Rifkin said of Rep. Pressley’s act of solidarity.
Ms. Pressley was driving past the Falmouth Village Green last week when she saw the Move to Remove group members with their signs and stopped her car to join them.
“I saw these dedicated citizens and bold activists out here protesting and organizing and I just had to stop to thank them,” Ms. Pressley said in the short video she gave Mr. Rifkin permission to take before she left.
“This is ultimately how we will resist the draconian, life-threatening, family-separating policies that are coming out of this administration by the day,” Ms. Pressley says in the video.
When Mr. Rifkin and co-founder Peter L. Waasdorp started Move to Remove in August 2017, they hoped it would light a fire under other protesters and start a nationwide movement. That did not happen, but the group persists in its public protest.
“Too many people have given up,” Mr. Waasdorp said. “Every day I hear people say they no longer watch or read the news because it is too depressing.”
To have Ms. Pressley stand with Move to Remove and endorse the members’ feelings about how to go forward with the current president in power was “super,” he said.
Mr. Rifkin believes the most effective way to get the attention of members of Congress is to mobilize masses of people. “We need to get out in the streets in an organized way,” he said. “Tactically, she (Ms. Pressley) agrees with us.”
The congresswoman said she is proud to be one of the co-sponsors—along with Al Green of Texas and Ms. Tlaib—of the House resolution to initiate impeachment proceedings against the president, and she added that every day, more of her Democratic colleagues are “getting on board.”
“Our Saturday vigils are always interesting, but I think all of us were just happy to be able to let Ayanna know directly—with hugs and handshakes—our appreciation for the much-needed passion and compassion that she and her fellow new, young, congresswomen bring to our threatened democracy,” Lillia D. Frantin of North Falmouth wrote in an email.
“For the first time in my lifetime, outrageous and rampant corruption, inaction, greed, and self-interest undermine a basic trust that democracy can even survive. Their commitment to justice and programs like the broad agenda of the Green New Deal represent for many of us a brighter future,” Ms. Frantin wrote.
“We were very honored that she (Ms. Pressley) stopped and took a photo with us,” Demaris A. Kooker of Mashpee said in a phone call.
“The more I read and understood about her, the more honored I was to have met her. I must say, I was impressed.”
Ms. Kooker has been a part of Move to Remove since its inception. “It helps with my frustration level,” she said of her activism.
“I am incredibly inspired by the group’s dedication and commitment to their beliefs; this is democracy in action. I am happy to shine a spotlight on this grass-roots movement,” said retired news videographer and producer Dan C. Brielman (www.e-Awakening.com) of Abington, who is making a “mini-doc”( a short, news-style documentary) about Move to Remove.
“I support what the group is doing,” Mr. Brielman said. “We need to find leaders who will nurture the world with love and caring, rather than rule through fear and hate.”
Last November Mr. Rifkin tried to disband Move to Remove after threats that he considered potentially dangerous to members of the group had intensified.
A number of fellow protesters, however, said they refused to be bullied into going away because there was “too much at stake,” he said, and the weekly protests on the green have continued.
“Our democracy cannot afford one more second with the occupant of this White House,” Ms. Pressley said in parting, reflecting just how much she, too, believes is at stake.
The weekly protest has inspired offshoot groups in Sandwich and Dennis.