With tax season in full swing, some Santa Marians rallied with others across the nation Saturday to demand that President Trump make his tax returns public.
A large crowd, made up of members from the Citizens for Transparency, North County Coalition, House of Pride and Equality and the Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy rallied at the intersection of Miller Street and Betteravia Road in front of the Santa Barbara County Government Center.
With shouts of "Tell the truth!" "No more secrets, no more lies!" "Show us your taxes!" and waving picket signs, they voiced their demand for the President's accountability and transparency.
"This is happening all over the nation today, and we're just one of them," Emiko Kase, with Citizens for Transparency, said of the rally. "There is good reason to believe there is a huge conflict of interest right now, and the people want to make sure we know what direction our country is going in."
She continued: "Hopefully we can continue our movement and actually make some progress — there are people who have the power to change things but right now, they're choosing not to so it's very important that we stand up — it'll be unpatriotic to not stand up."
Citizens for Transparency member Camille Katz agreed, and pointed out that the programs Trump is cutting cost less than his weekend trips to his Florida home, Mar-a-Lago.
"We got our taxes done — where are his?" she questioned. "There are so many conflicts of interest, and we believe those are important to find out — for both parties from the left and right; we just need to know what the President is all about."
Katz pointed to the unity represented in Santa Maria and throughout the nation with rallies even before Trump was sworn in.
"We're Americans, and we deserve to know," she added. "This kind of message will make a difference. This issue isn't split between the left or the right, it's for all of us. There's no reason to tell us to look elsewhere while he goes and does something behind the people's backs."
Protester Jessie Funes cautioned the crowd to be careful, and reminded them that the rally isn't to cause problems or fuel anger, but rather to be peaceful.
"Let's be safe out there" she urged the crowd, before they took to the street corners. "Keep your signs close to you and if there are hecklers, just ignore them — this is a peaceful march."
As they marched the protesters waved their picket signs and chanted "Show us your taxes!" Several drivers honked in support and appreciation as they drove by.
"Today is a response from the community who want the truth," Funes said. "We're held accountable for our own taxes, even undocumented immigrants pay their taxes here — is he doing the same?"