Louisville Tax Day March protest draws 400 downtown

By BERRY CRAIG

AFT Local 1360

Tamera Sanford is worried about more than Donald Trump’s taxes.

“I do not like what’s going on with North Korea,” she said. “I’ve got a 21-year-old son at the University of Louisville,  and I’m afraid he might be drafted.”

Sanford, from Florence, was among an estimated 400 people who showed up for Saturday’s Tax Day March rally at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza in downtown Louisville.

Press secretary Sean Spicer said today that Trump still won’t release his 2016 tax returns because the president remains under Internal Revenue Service audit. The IRS has said an audit wouldn’t prevent a taxpayer from making his or her returns public.

The Falls City gathering was apparently typical of more than 150 other Tax Day protests that attracted thousands of people in cities and towns nationwide. The other Kentucky rally was in Lexington, the Fayette County seat.

Fayette and Jefferson County, which encompasses Louisville, were the only two Kentucky counties Clinton carried in the presidential election. Trump collected 62.5 percent of the Bluegrass State vote.  

Though the draft ended 34 years ago, Sanford wonders if Trump might reintroduce conscription if he decides to sends troops to fight North Korea, Syria or Isis. Meanwhile, she wants him to show the country his tax returns.

Sherry Via of La Grange wonders what the president might be hiding. “We need to see what kind of business connections he has, where his money is invested and who he owes -- that would tell us a lot,” she said.

“He owes it to us to release his returns,” said Marshall Shelor of Louisville.

Bernadette Coty of Elizabethtown doesn’t like Trump’s tax policy. “He should be forthcoming with his tax returns, but we also don’t want tax cuts for the rich—we want health care for all, too.”

Retired teacher Glenna Harris, also from Louisville, said she’d “been to a lot of protests since Trump got elected.” She plans to join the Peoples Climate March in Washington on April 29.

Harris said she worked hard to help elect Hillary Clinton. “I think she got totally cheated. I think the Russians put Trump in there.”

Louisville resident Annamarie Bauscher wonders if Trump’s taxes might show that he broke the law. “He’s been involved with crooks from way back—including overseas ones. How do we know he’s not taking money from them now?”

Sean Fitzgerald brought a homemade sign that said in Russian, “Release your taxes.” He confessed he doesn’t speak Russian.

“I have a friend who does, and he translated it into Russian,” said Fitzgerald, also from Louisville.

Louisville resident Joe Brennan, executive director of the Kentucky Labor Institute, criticized tea party-tilting GOP Gov. Matt Bevin for pushing "regressive taxation that is going to hurt the poorest people."  

Andrew Glibbery, a Louisville middle school teacher and member of the Jefferson County Teachers Association, organized the protest. “Trump said the only people interested in his taxes are reporters,” he said, speaking from a bench on the concrete and grass plaza near the Congressman Romano Mazzoli Federal Building. “You can see here that that’s not the case."

He said the wave of rallies nationwide showed the country “is holding Trump accountable. In his world where lies are an everyday thing, it’s hard to keep up with them."

Glibbery lined up a quintet of speakers: Robbie Olivam of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, high school student Arianne Tuley, the Rev. Derek Penwell, Metro Council member Rick Blackwell and state Rep. Jim Wayne. All live in Louisville.

Tuley is a student at Moore High School, which includes the middle school where Glibbery teaches social studies. She read a poem she wrote while the other presenters gave speeches. She said the rally “really inspired me as a millennial.” 

Glibbery is Tuley's soccer coach; she is in Matt Kaufmann’s English class. “I’m here to support my students,” said Kaufmann, also a JCTA member.

“I worry about their future. I want their voice to be heard as the environment is being destroyed, and they can't vote. The xenophobia in our culture is really scary to me. 

“I have girls who are Muslims and are afraid to wear their hijabs in public, African American boys who are scholars and are stalked in grocery stores, and Mexican kids who were born here but whose parents aren’t citizens. They are afraid of what’s going to happen to their parents and to them.”

The rally featured several signs, most of them home-made, including: -- “I’ll show you mine if you’ll show me yours—show us your tax returns!”; “Where are you Putin your money?”; and “Get off the fairway and do it the fair way--show your taxes!” 

A few posters were printed up for the rally. They depicted a Trump look-alike chicken roosting on an egg decorated with dollar signs. “What are you hiding, you chicken?” the caption asked.

Before and after the program, several rally goers took selfies in front of a giant inflatable chicken that looked like the poster fowl. The chickens were popular at several other rallies. 

Doug Lowry of Louisville Communications Workers of America Local 3310 helped Glibbery put on the rally. In between speakers, Lowry led chants that included:

“No more secrets! No more lies!

Show your taxes! Keep your ties!"

“Hey, Chicken Don, what’s that you hide?

Show us now, or have you lied?"

"Hey, Chicken Don, who’s that you owe?

Without your taxes, we won’t know!"

The rally concluded with most of the crowd--and all of the speakers--doing the "Chicken Dance." Before the rally, the crowd chorused, "We need a leader, not a creepy tweeter!'

The protests rankled Trump, according to Politico's Matthew Nussbaum. 

"The latest flare-up came this past weekend, when Trump’s motorcade took an unexpected detour on Saturday as he returned to his Mar-a-Lago resort from the Trump International Golf Club," he wrote. "The longer route bypassed a throng of protesters, participating in a nationwide demonstration calling for Trump to release his tax returns, as past presidents have done."

The president again took to social media to express disdain.

Nussbaum quoted Trump's Twitter vent on Sunday after the protests: “I did what was an almost an impossible thing to do for a Republican-easily won the Electoral College! Now Tax Returns are brought up again? Someone should look into who paid for the small organized rallies yesterday. The election is over!”