On Wednesday, October 4th, members of the Black Student Union (BSU) and Cleopatra’s Sisters found out that Speaker of the House Paul Ryan would be visiting Chestertown the next day to tour Dixon Valve, a manufacturing business that has been located here on the Eastern Shore for several decades. Members of the two clubs quickly spread the word via group messages and Snapchat, and a meeting was held that night as the students planned a protest against Ryan.
Paul Ryan, along with US Representative Andy Harris (R-1st District) and Jay Timmons, CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, were visiting Dixon Valve to promote the Republican plan for tax reform. Ryan spoke to a few dozen workers about the tax cut and promoting the economy as well as the manufacturing sector.
Protesters included members of Indivisible MD, an organization of Maryland and DC citizens opposed to President Trump’s agenda, as well as private citizens not associated with any group but who still wanted to show their displeasure with the current state of American politics. They were seen lining High Street as early as an hour and a half before Ryan’s arrival at Dixon Valve, which was estimated to be at 2:00 pm on Thursday, October 5th.
Seven students and two professors departed Goldstein approximately a half hour before Ryan’s arrival to join the protesters already at Dixon Valve, and the students protested with chants while wearing shirts that spelled out the word ‘traitor.’ Many of the students said that they were protesting issues that they held close to their hearts, such as women’s rights, gun control, and immigration.
Picture credit Patrick Semansky, Associated Press