Code Pink @ the RNC

Story posted July 18, 2016 in Convention Coverage by Waiss David Aramesh.


Protester Chelsea Byers, right, of Los Angeles, pretends to use money to wipe sweat from the brow of a giant Donald Trump head worn by Alice Newberry of Washington State. They are joined by Rebecca Green, left, of Cleveland. The women, members of "Code Pink," marched with other protesters through Public Square in Cleveland on Monday, July 18, 2016 at the Republican National Convention. (Photo by Antonella Crescimbeni)

CLEVELAND---Standing among a sea of protesters downtown, about a dozen ladies all decked out in pink clothing shouted and held signs that said, “Tax The Poor” – all in the name of the complete opposite.

A women-led peace and demilitarization group that goes by the name Code Pink donned colorful hats and paraded around a costumed Donald Trump throwing fake dollar bills in the air in a Public Square demonstration on Monday afternoon.

 The women chanted lines like “Close public schools!’ or “More money in politics!” Using the sarcastic and humor approach to protesting, Toni Rozsahegyi said she hoped that the group will get their message out in a unique but effective method.

“I think that too many people get out there and scream, and they’re angry,” Rozsahegyi said. “We’re just trying to put the issues out there, and we feel that this light-hearted sort of comical way really gets our message across without being too offensive.”

This isn’t Rozsahegyi’s full time job. She said she took a week off from being a health care specialist and a mother to come down to the Republican National Convention and stand with the Pink ladies as they swept the sweat off the brow of a fake Donald Trump with fake money.

Rozsahegyi has been involved with Code Pink for about five years now and said that she joined when she saw the group on CNN protesting the Senate Arms Services Committee.

“I just really loved what those women were doing and thought it was fabulous,” Rozsahegyi said. “We all are rushing through life so quickly, paying our bills, taking care of our kids, that we’re not as focused on what is going on in Washington and then they slip things into legislation that we’re not even aware of.”

Code Pink was established back in 2002. It was originally created to protest the militarization in Iraq but then adapted to other issues, such as military drones and the closing of Guantanamo Bay.

Members said they had expected 50 of their group to protest at the Republican National Convention, but only a dozen have shown up so far. Pink member Chelsea Byers said that Ohio’s open carry laws had a lot to do with that.

“I think it’s scary times, people are rightfully terrified and we’ve heard a lot of people not wanting to come out and join us in protest,” Byers said. I think when we can lead with love and lead with fun and beauty and joy, it creates an environment that doesn’t remind us about all of the scary things out there.”

Byers, 26, said that she herself was fazed by the open carry laws of the state but was appreciative of the Cleveland Police Union urging the suspension of the laws that allow licensed individuals to walk around in the open with their gun during the Republican National Convention. She noted the “hypocrisy” in the banning of oranges, tennis balls and water bottles in the Quicken Loans Arena.

The pink outfits were created from anything the demonstrators could find like scrap material and even old prom dresses.

Rozsahegyi said that although their goal is to not offend anyone, they have received criticism from people on social media.       

“Isn’t it funny that something that was invented to bring the world together has divided us so easily with the rhetoric that people put out there,” Rozsahegyi said.

“That’s especially true for the republican presumptive nominee.”