Story and Photos by Ty O’Neil
While April 15 is synonymous with Tax Day, this year it became a rallying point for those disillusioned with President Trump and his administration with a call for Trump to release his own tax return. Tax Day events were held across the country, including a Show Your Taxes event at Wingfield Park in downtown Reno organized by Get Involved Nevada and attended by at least 400 locals.
While the event wasn’t particularly cheery, the weather was as perfect as anyone could have asked for considering recent storms. A live mariachi band was the backdrop as attendees mingled and compared, complimented, and photographed one another’s protest signs.
Passersby only had moments to wonder about the event’s meaning, until spying the protest signs which featured derogatory images of President Trump and demands for him to release his taxes. A favorite was a Trump piñata which the owner explained was just like the real thing, “tiny hands and nothing inside.” Many people stopped to take photos or selfies with the likeness.
The majority of protesters refused to utter Donald Trump’s name, let alone refer to him as the President. Rather, they used a variety of nicknames including: Orange Face, Grifter-in-Chief, Putin’s Puppet, He Who Shall Not Be Named, him, and the most common, 45.
While they refused to say his name, rally participants had no qualms discussing the various reasons why they believe Trump has yet to release his tax returns.
Mylan Hawkins, one of the event speakers, ran down a list of possibilities: that he isn’t as rich as he says; he is in debt; he owes money to the Russian mafia and government (crowd loudly cheered); and, he has conflicts of interest. Hawkins reiterated that whatever is on President Trump’s tax returns must be something huge and terrible. Many added that they thought it could lead to impeachment.
Later in the event Monique Normand and Nathaniel Phillipps of Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN) led the crowd in chants, primarily “Show us your taxes!”
Tax returns were not the only topic of the protest; many facets of government were criticized.
Union activist Ian Hoffman read aloud Trump’s proposed budget cuts to the EPA and other government agencies—cuts not proposed for the military. He explained that after the recent use of a GBU-43, better known as the MOAB bomb, against ISIS that stock in military contract companies quickly rose. ISIS, recent tensions with North Korea, and a potential cold war-like scenario were all discussed.
Additional speakers included Jakki Duron, who spoke about immigration and what she explained at the U.S.’s efforts to destabilize South American countries. Sharon Brown, a 20-year Reno nurse, spoke with passion in praising the Affordable Care Act and demonized Republicans who sought to defund it.
Local artists contributed to the event with music and poetry including a performance by the Quite Reno Singers, who performed a song from the Women’s March while wearing “pussy hats.”
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Ty O’Neil is a lifelong student of anthropology with two degrees in the arts. He is far more at home in the tear gas filled streets of war torn countries than he is relaxing at home. He has found a place at This Is Reno as a photojournalist. He hopes to someday be a conflict photojournalist covering wars and natural disasters abroad.