'I'm worried, but I'm praying for the best:' Trump opponents prepare for inauguration

Mary Merrill
Mary Merrill, a 67-year-old Minneapolis native, has fears of the Trump administration.
Laura Yuen | MPR News

As the nation gets ready to swear in a new president Friday, everyday Minnesotans who opposed Donald Trump are preparing for his inauguration — and for the next four years.

Whether it's through acts of resistance or moments of prayer, they're coming to terms with a President Trump.

Nowhere is the anxiety felt more than in Minnesota's central cities. Voters in Hennepin and Ramsey counties chose Hillary Clinton over Trump by margins of 35 percentage points or more.

"I'm worried, but I'm praying for the best," said Mary Merrill, a 67-year-old Minneapolis native who was one of thousands who attended the annual MLK Holiday Breakfast at the city's convention center Monday. "I'm working hard to do what I can in my small corner of the universe to say, 'We've faced worse times than this.'"

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Her fears extend not only to how Trump will treat people of color and women but how his rhetoric, which Merrill views as reckless, will affect the rest of the globe, from foreign policy to the environment.

But now, she said, it's time for people like her to get to work, start engaging people who supported Trump and try to find some common ground.

"I think this election of Donald Trump says a lot more about us as a country, us as a people," she said. "I think we need to have a dialogue, reacquaint ourselves as Americans, as a nation."

Along a picturesque stretch of Minnehaha Creek, Rabbi Michael Latz was getting ready for a Friday night Shabbat service at Shir Tikvah Congregation.

Rabbi Michael Latz
Rabbi Michael Latz.
Laura Yuen | MPR News

While it's not an "anti-Trump" service, Latz does call it an act of "faithful resistance" that happens to fall on the day Trump is sworn in.

He said it will draw heavily from this week's Torah reading. Jews around the world will dive into the beginning of the book of Exodus, which details the suffering of Israelites under a new ruler in Egypt.

"It's a story about how we as moral people face leaders who don't honor human dignity," Latz said. "And sadly, for the first time in my lifetime, we have a president-elect who traffics in bigotry and indecency. ... Our task as people of faith is to hold our public leaders accountable and to remind them that they serve us."

Latz said he worries how repealing Obamacare would affect the sick and uninsured, and what Trump's rhetoric signals for the rights of transgender people and immigrants.

Others are joining in on the resistance movement, and they see Trump's rise as a way to galvanize voters and political activists.

Shiranthi Goonathilaka
Shiranthi Goonathilaka, a 22-year-old organizer with Neighborhoods Organizing for Change in north Minneapolis.
Laura Yuen | MPR News

Shiranthi Goonathilaka, a 22-year-old organizer with Neighborhoods Organizing for Change in north Minneapolis, is planning about 20 "political-education house parties" on a single night next month.

The party-goers will discuss what Trump's term will mean for people who suddenly feel on the margins.

"For a lot of folks who didn't see themselves on the front line of any social-justice movement, Trump now as our president is showing them they're at risk for being who they are, whether that's your gender, your ethnicity, or race," she said.

James Cross
St. Paul resident James Cross, a member of Native Lives Matter.
Laura Yuen | MPR News

St. Paul resident James Cross, an organizer with Native Lives Matter, said he's trying to keep an open mind about the new president. Cross said he's been praying a lot lately that Trump's divisive speech on the campaign trail was not genuine.

"I'm just hoping that it's not in him," Cross said. "I'm hoping his Creator will open his eyes and open his heart to be peaceful, and understand that America needs a good leader — not somebody who's putting everybody down."

But that won't stop Cross from marching Friday afternoon in Minneapolis in a massive Inauguration Day protest. It'll start at 2 p.m. on Lake Street and Nicollet Avenue and end with a large rally at City Hall.

And on Saturday, organizers of a women's march to the state Capitol are expecting 20,000 demonstrators.