MIDTOWN, Manhattan -- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio joined celebrities, community activists and elected officials on the eve of President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration to rally for various issues and rights protections.
Called "We Stand United: New York Rally to Protect Shared Values on the Night Before Trump's Inauguration," the demonstration included the Rev. Al Sharpton and actors Mark Ruffalo, Shailene Woodley, Rosie Perez and Alec Baldwin, as well as advocacy groups.
According to a statement, the goal was to "send a message to President-elect Trump and Congress that New York City will protect the rights of residents and will continue to make real progress on important issues such as healthcare, climate change, social justice and immigrant rights."
The rally was being held outside Trump International Hotel and Tower near Columbus Circle, at Central Park West and West 61st Street, around 6 p.m. Thursday.
MoveOn.org, Greenpeace US and Planned Parenthood of New York City will be among the groups participating to emphasize to the new administration and to Congress that "New Yorkers will continue to protect our people and the environment."
One group of women was running nearly 250 miles from Harlem, where they started Wednesday night, to Washington, D.C. in order to raise money and to protest what they call misinformation from Trump on Planned Parenthood.
"They provide cervical cancer screenings, birth control, routine checkups. So for Planned Parenthood to be defunded, millions of people are going to be without care," said one of the protesters.
Protests were held at 25 schools in Newark Thursday morning as public school teachers spoke out against Betsy DeVos, Trump's pick for education secretary.
"Betsy DeVos has never stepped foot in a public school," one teacher said. "We all know what it's like to make policy you never taught. That's like you going to a doctor who never did the operation."
In particular, DeVos confirmation hearing comments about guns in schools to protect against grizzly bear attacks struck a nerve.
"I don't care what your position on guns," UFT president Randi Weingarten said. "How dare you say to the senator of the state that represents Newtown and Sandy Hook that guns, guns may be important in Wyoming, to deal with grizzly bears as opposed to how do we make our kids safe in schools."
Other cities nationwide held similar rallies.
New York City rally underway on inauguration eve 'to protect shared values'