Demonstrators gathered Tuesday outside the Hotel at Oberlin said they didn’t expect to change the political views of Republican National Convention delegates headed to Cleveland, but hoped they might find common ground.
Given the rancor at the convention — speakers Monday night trashed “illegal aliens,” “radical Islamic terrorists,” and Hillary Clinton after protestors verbally clashed outside — demonstration organizer Al Carroll said Community Peace Builders wanted to send a conciliatory message.
Carroll, the group’s founder, said the theme was “building bridges rather than walls.”
The nonsectarian group, founded in 2004, works to build a “culture of peace” through acts of “mercy, justice, and compassion,” according to its mission statement. Carroll said there are about 15 regular members.
The vigil’s theme of respect for others was similar to the subject of speeches Monday by Melania Trump and Michelle Obama in a 2008 Democratic convention speech, Carroll said.
Trump, who told NBC she wrote nearly all the speech, is accused of plagiarizing Michelle Obama’s speech. The Trump campaign denies it.
Regardless of whether the speech was plagiarized, Carroll said the similarities in both speeches show Democrats and Republicans have some things in common. He hoped convention-goers saw the signs calling for peace.
Carroll said there needs to be constructive dialogue between the left and right.
Hotel manager Erica Todhunter said most of the 50 guests at the 70-room hotel were delegates or reporters covering the convention. Todhunter said a few convention-goers have said they’ve done sightseeing in downtown Oberlin and liked what they saw.
Todhunter said she met with police and other city officials to discuss increasing security at the hotel during the convention and there have been no problems.
“We’re happy we live in a place where people can peacefully protest,” she said. “It’s great that people can get their message across.”
Evan Goodenow can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @GoodenowNews on Twitter.
Evan Goodenow | Oberlin News-Tribune Members of Community Peace Builders demonstrated Tuesday outside the Hotel at Oberlin. They were trying to send a conciliatory message to Republican convention delegates staying at the hotel.