Nearly 200 people rallied outside the Tip O’Neill Federal Building May 31 to protest the Trump administration’s budget proposal. Activists held signs reading “No more cuts! Tax the 1%!” and “Hands off our Social Security!” while chanting “Stand up! Rise up! Resist!”
Speakers condemned the Republicans’ budget while endorsing an alternative: The People’s Budget. This budget, drafted by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, devotes $2 trillion to modern energy, infrastructure, education, and healthcare. It expands Social Security, closes tax loopholes, and stops CEOs from awarding themselves millions in tax-free bonuses.
“People just want equality,” said Ingrid Smith, member of the grassroots community organization City Life and supporter of the People’s Budget. “Everyone just wants enough money to pay their bills and live.”
The president’s budget proposal calls for a $54 billion cut to programs focused on climate protection, housing, food security, worker safety, and cancer research. Alongside the gains from the $880 billion cut to Medicaid already passed by the House of Representatives, these cuts would be transferred to the military budget and allow for the president’s proposed $5 trillion in tax reductions for the wealthy.
“A budget is a moral document,” said Bob Massie, activist, politician, and Democratic candidate for Massachusetts governor. Where a government allocates money shows where their values lie, he explained, adding that the current budget proposal’s underlying values “are repugnant to us as citizens of the United States.”
Angered by the lack of support for middle and lower class citizens, multiple grassroots organizations from the Greater Boston area joined with the Massachusetts People’s Budget Campaign to rally and march in favor of a progressive alternative budget.
Michael Kane, executive director of the Massachusetts Alliance of HUD Tenants, introduced each speaker and led chants in between each. He spoke ardently at the start of the rally, saying “Trump has proposed the deepest cuts to the programs that keep us strong.” His mention of Trump’s tax cuts for the wealthy was received with boos from the crowd.
Steve Tolman, president of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, also shamed Trump’s actions in a passionate speech. “Brothers and sisters, it’s a sham… he demonstrates he doesn’t care about us,” he said. “It’s our nation, our government.”
After speeches at the Tip O’Neill Federal Building, the group marched up Staniford Street and down Cambridge Street, arriving at the JFK Federal Building in Government Center just as the rain clouds parted. Chants of “No more cuts – tax the one percent!” filled the downtown area.
Further speeches followed at the JFK building, including words by Ronel Remy, member of City Life. Turning aggravation into action, he rallied the crowd with strong ideas. “A warrior is brave, a warrior is bold, a warrior is determined… you can be this warrior,” he said. “Stand up. Fight. Say, ‘I want to make my mark.’”
Other speakers included state senators, environmentalists, teachers, healthcare workers, a scientist, seniors, and policy analysts.
As the afternoon ended, Kane reminded constituents to call their senators requesting they support the People’s Budget. “The Trump Budget is a recipe for racism, for fear,” he said.