#TaxMarch: A Call for Transparency
Today may be Tax Day in the United States, but thousands of people took to the streets around the country on April 15th calling for President Trump to release his tax returns. Although presidents and major party candidates have released their tax returns since 1976, Trump is under no legal obligation to do so. Regardless, protesters came together this past Saturday for the Tax March, a unified call for financial transparency from our president.
I spoke with protesters at New York City’s Tax March about why they were there and what they were looking to achieve through the demonstration.
“Trump keeps saying that only the reporters are asking for his tax returns and that it doesn’t matter to the average American,” said Anne. “This march is a demonstration that it matters to average Americans. That’s why I am here.”
Brooklyn resident Moujan agreed, saying, “Proof is in the numbers. Proof is in visuals. Seeing this many people out here protesting this, that’s proof. You can’t fake something like this.”
According to the Tax March organizers, over 125,000 people marched in over 200 demonstrations across globe, with 25,000 individuals marching in Washington, D.C.
Transparency was the word of the day. A common thread throughout the protesters I spoke with was the belief that public officials should be transparent about their financial ties.
“If you choose to go into public service, particularly in the highest office in the land, you should have to be transparent with your business dealings,” Charlie said. “Particularly where your money is and what interests you have.”
His wife, Cody, also stressed the importance of financial transparency, saying, “We can know that they’re not beholden to anybody other than the American people.”
Anne, a New Yorker in her 70s, was inspired by the age range represented on Saturday. “What’s encouraging about this march is the number of young people. I’m hoping that this is a good indication that the young people care about these issues,” she said. “This is not an old people’s march. This is an everybody march.”
And the young people were definitely present, even some with over a decade remaining before they can vote. I spoke with a few parents who brought their young kids to the protest.
“I think it’s good for them to see how democracy works and that social activism is important and that you can make changes,” said Joanna, who had brought her son to previous protests.
“I want them to see that they have a voice and that, as a collective, together we can make an impact,” said Bliss, who brought her three kids to the Tax March. Her kids were excited to share their opinions about the day’s events.
“It makes it better if there are more people [at the march]. And so us just being here helps Trump know that he has to pay his taxes,” said Marley, age 11. Her sister agreed.
“I want to express [my opinion] so that people can know kids have an opinion and it’s not just adults,” said Esme, age 10. “I want Donald Trump to know that many people are opposed to him.”
Their little brother, Asher, said that Donald Trump was “sexist and racist,” two words I have never heard an eight-year-old say in my twenty-eight years on this planet.
All the kids I spoke with expressed a striking sense of awareness, as well as a fierce determination to be heard. As we walked up Sixth Avenue with the crowd, I asked each child what advice he or she had for kids around the country.
“They should let their voice be heard. Because every child has a voice,” said Marley. “They should just let the world know that they are passionate as much as grownups.”