Today's appearance of a controversial presidential candidate in the Twin Cities afforded Not In Our Town: Bloomington/Normal the opportunity to amplify its message of inclusiveness.
During Republican candidate Donald Trump's campaign rally at Central Illinois Regional Airport, several individuals and community organizations concerned about some of Trump's campaign comments. NIOTBN representatives gathered at the site according to Steering Committee Member Mike Matejka "not to challenge Donald Trump, but to affirm our values of a safe, inclusive community."
The group pledged "solidarity with all who struggle for justice and equality in a non-violent way and to affirm the value of all people in our community, regardless of their economic class, race, ability, gender or sexual orientation."
"I was so proud of Bloomington-Normal today with the Trump Rally," said NIOTBN charter member Marc Miller, who participated in the group's presentation. "It was peaceful throughout. Those of us who turned out for Not In Our Town stood diligently and testified with our silence and our present for our non-partisan message of stopping hate, addressing bullying, and creating a safe community for all."
The Pantagraph, WMBD-TV, and the international Reuters wire service interviewed NIOTBN representatives at the rally site. NIOTBN's post regarding the rally and community response by late afternoon had been viewed by 3,500 people, garnering 142 likes and 20 shares.
The Twin Cities rally followed Trump's cancellation of a planned rally in Chicago in the wake of major protests by a variety of groups.
"Today’s rally has concluded and the crowd is clearing peacefully. No significant issues were reported, and no arrests have been made," the Bloomington Police Department said in a Sunday statement. "Thank you to all the law enforcement agencies in attendance for their hard work and dedication protecting public safety and free speech."