Downtown rallies emphasize ‘all are welcome’ in Indianapolis

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - People gathered across Indianapolis for events that promoted unity on Inauguration Day Friday. Organizers said they set out to spread a message of inclusion during tense political times.

"I see a lot of stress, a lot of anxiety, a lot of fear among all my friends and coworkers," said Michael Joson, who attended the rally. "I felt this was an opportunity  to show that I support everyone in the city."

Many attendees showed up with signs and wearing pins illustrating their top concerns as a new administration takes the helm in Washington D.C. Speakers from groups like Planned Parenthood, the Muslim Alliance of Indiana and the ACLU addressed the crowd and urged people to remain active in the community.

"I made a conscious decision not to watch the inauguration," said Lacy Hollings. "I wanted to be a part of something different and be a part of a community where everyone is welcomed."

At nearly the same time as President Donald Trump was sworn into office, rally attendees took an oath of their own - stating they would protect everyone's rights.

"Indy can make change by itself no matter what’s happening outside of us," Joson said.

Mayor Joe Hogsett, who attended the rally, also pledged to eat dinner at Mimi Blue Meatballs on Mass Ave. The restaurant held an all-day fundraiser at its location there and in Carmel, raising funds for the Immigrant Welcome Center and Women 4 Change.

"I have great hope for our future," Hogsett said.

"We are here today to celebrate diversity and inclusion and being a very welcoming community," the Immigrant Welcome Center's Terri Morris Downs said.

Later Friday, a group of local musicians met in Fountain Square to shoot a music video for "Peace, love, and understanding."

Lead singer Brian Deer said it was a way to spread a positive message after the election.

"Let’s make today not about frustration or divisiveness, let’s make today about having fun together with music," Deer said.

Fellow organizer Ben  Shine insisted the music video was not a political statement, but instead a show of unity and inclusion.

"It’s felt different lately and I think we all kind of feel like we’re more apart than we’ve ever been before so we just thought of an idea like music brings people together," Shine said.

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