Tensions run high as McMorris Rodgers takes stage at MLK Unity Rally

Tensions run high as McMorris Rodgers takes stage at MLK Unity Rally

There were tense moments inside the Spokane Convention Center as Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R) took the stage Monday to share a message of unity.

McMorris Rodgers was among several local politicians and activists to speak at the MLK Unity Rally in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

For the nearly ten minutes that McMorris Rodgers spoke, people did not stay silent. Some turned their backs during her speech, while others shouted at her, some calling her a “liar.”

McMorris Rodgers talked over protests from the crowd, saying we need to have difficult discussions in our community to overcome our differences and she wants to be a part of those discussions.

The congresswoman also received applause as she addressed President Donald Trump’s alleged remarks about immigrants from Haiti and other African countries.

“This kind of language is destructive. It is divisive. Profanity and divisiveness is never the answer,” McMorris Rodgers said.

She left the stage to both boos and cheers from the crowd. Other speakers who came after her had harsh words for the interruptions, which they referred to as bullying.

“You are not being an example to our children. I don’t care how you feel. Take it to the polls. Vote. If you don’t vote, as my mama would say, ‘shut your mouth,'” said Stephi Nobles-Beans in a fiery speech. Nobles-Beans works in diversity, equity and inclusion ministry at Whitworth University.

The political protests didn’t end inside the convention center though. As the crowd took to the street for the unity march, many carried signs to show their distaste with President Trump and his policies.

“I think we all need to understand that we’re all one race and that’s the human race. And that especially right now, we all need to come together and refuse the rhetoric that’s coming from the presidency,” said Judy Kneis, who attended the rally.

Others said they were there to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“MLK didn’t stand up for what he believed in for us not to march today,” said one teenager who participated.

Despite the tensions at the rally, there was an overarching message of unity. All the speakers shared their message that we must come together as one and talk through our issues in order to move our country forward.