ITHACA, N.Y. — On Tuesday night, Ithacans shed tears of frustration, sadness and fear as Donald Trump was elected the 45th president of the United States. But on Wednesday night at an anti-Trumpism rally on the Commons, there were no tears. There were only calls to action.

“Today, we have a message for the fascists: We see you,” said Cornell Professor Russell Rickford. “We are not cowered. We are not paralyzed. We may mourn, but we will also organize.”

To the committed applause of hundreds attendees, Rickford spoke out about the inequitable mass incarceration of low-income people and people of color, wealth inequality, unaffordable housing, racism, misogyny, standing with unions – and above all – uniting together to “smash Trumpism.”

“For many of us it was a shock, a jolt,” he said. “If we’re honest though, we’ll admit that the basic elements of Trumpism have been present all along.”

Cornell student and Black Lives Matter activist Delmar Fears said she woke up to an unfamiliar country where what she thought was “a bigoted minority that were dying out” elected Trump for president.

“America is not inevitably marching toward equality. No, we have to fight for our rights, bitterly constantly and tenaciously,” Delmar said.

She said the mantra that has gotten her through the election of Trump so far is as follows:

It is our duty to fight for our freedom.

It is our duty to win.

We must love each other and support each other.

We have nothing to lose but our chains.

Hundreds joined in chanting the mantra again and again.

Rickford urged people of color to join Ithaca’s Black Lives Matter movement and pointed white people and allies toward joining Showing Up for Racial Justice, a local social activist group.

“We begin with people power, us – you and me – ordinary folk,” he said.

He called the election of Trump the “Emmett Till” moment for the country, referencing the African American teen who was brutally murdered after flirting with at a white woman in Mississippi in 1955.

The teen’s murder is credited with helping launch the Civil Rights movement in the following years. Trump’s win can be just as powerful of a moment for the United States.

“Survival is a long-term goal. This is nothing but a short-term win,” he said. “Once you are awake, you can’t go back to sleep.”

All photos by Sam Scott/The Ithaca Voice