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Politics

San Diegans Sign Postcards For The President

Zack Kushner, Ides of Trump co-organizer, mails a stack of messages to Donald Trump from Berkeley, Calif., March 15, 2017.
Zack Kushner
Zack Kushner, Ides of Trump co-organizer, mails a stack of messages to Donald Trump from Berkeley, Calif., March 15, 2017.
San Diegans Sign Postcards For The President

What would you say in a letter to President Donald Trump?

Nearly 100 San Diegans turned out Wednesday to pen their thoughts and mail them to the White House. The All Are Welcome Postcard Writing event organized by the City Heights Community Development Corporation is part of a national effort to send millions of messages to the president on the same day.

The Ides of Trump campaign called on opponents of the president and his policies to mail a note to the White House on March 15. The date is known as the Ides of March, recognized as the anniversary of the assassination of Julius Caesar.

RELATED: You Can Mail A ‘Dear Mr. Trump’ Postcard For Free In City Heights

Kensington Resident Kelly Alexander said she stopped by the City Heights event after learning about it from a KPBS news story. She said she focused her message on Trump’s stance on immigration.

“I said that building a wall was a bad idea and a big waste of money and it doesn’t solve the problem,” Alexander said.

According to a January poll by the Pew Research Center, 39 percent of those surveyed said Trump’s plan to put a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border was “somewhat important” or “very important.” On the other hand, 59 percent of respondents said the wall was “not too important” or “not important at all.”

City Heights community member Edward Castañon said his postcard didn’t focus on politics, but instead, commented on Trump’s attitude.

“[I] basically said, we’re tired of your crying, ya know, can you just do your work?” Castañon said he wrote.

Organizers of the event in City Heights, home to one of the largest populations of immigrants and refugees in the region, zeroed in on Trump’s immigration policies. The president’s executive order to temporarily halt immigrants from some countries and suspend the refugee resettlement program, which was blocked for the second time by a federal judge, has been a point of controversy. Supporters say it’s a necessary measure to keep the country safe but critics say it’s discriminatory and un-American.

At the event located at the weekly international food market Fair@44, the City Heights Community Development Corporation offered 300 pre-addressed and pre-paid postcards. They featured the hashtags #BridgesNotWalls, #RefugeesWelcome and #EndDeportations.

The City Heights Community Development Corporation’s Assistant Director Laura Ann Fernia said the aim was to demonstrate unity.

“To make people who work and live here in City Heights who are not citizens feel welcome and OK with living here,” Fernea said.

But, she added, participants were welcome to write about any topic.

“It could be the White House lawn is too big,” she said with a laugh. “Whatever it is you can write about it and send a postcard.”

A post card designed by Ides of Trump co-organizer Ted Sullivan's friend, Buck Downs, reads "Greetings from the Resistence."
A post card designed by Ides of Trump co-organizer Ted Sullivan's friend, Buck Downs, reads "Greetings from the Resistence."

Most of the messages at the afternoon event were critical, but one woman who didn’t want to be identified said she considered writing a more positive note. She said she worried the president might not receive too many.

Ides of Trump got it’s start shortly after the Women’s March in January. The global event prompted millions of people to rally in cities across the world, including an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 people in San Diego.

Ted Sullivan and Zack Kushner, both writers, hatched the Ides of Trump plan after attending separate Women’s March events in California.

Sullivan said when he and Kushner discussed their experiences over bottles of Ballast Point Black Marlin (a San Diego-brewed beer, and the best Sullivan said he’s ever had), they each commented on the creativity of the protesters’ signs.

“And he said, ‘Man, I wish we could mail those to Trump,” Sullivan said in a phone interview from Toronto. “And then we both went, ‘Well, we can.’”

Soon after, they created a Facebook page and registred a website encouraging people to mail Trump their witty messages on the same day. Sullivan said originally, they had wanted to select Valentine’s Day as the date, but they felt it didn’t give them enough time to organize, so they settled on March.

Sullivan said he suggested March 15 because it was the Ides of March, which marks Caesar’s assassination.

“The Ides of Trump kind of seems to fit in sort of a sarcastic, funny way,” he said. “Certainly not in a violent way.”

After a few slow weeks, Sullivan, Kushner and friends saw the word begin to rapidly spread online.

“It’s been all really Zack and me and a couple of other people banging the drum on social media to try and use the same types of platforms that Trump uses to try to mobilize anti-Trump people.”

He said he’s heard of letter writing parties across the state and as far away as New Zealand. Sullivan said he and Kushner personally mailed hundreds of postcards today that they’ve written over the past few weeks, but he said he doesn’t expect the messages to change Trump’s mind.

“He is who he is,” Sullivan said. “This is more about trying to get some media attention on these issues to keep up the pressure to unify the opposition against him, to act as, basically, a marker in the marathon of protest to say, ‘Run to this for now, then someone after us will have something else to run to.’”

He noted upcoming marches on Tax Day and Earth Day.