Kiyoko Merolli could have chosen to spend her seventh birthday as most kids do, at home with friends and family. But instead of a party, she asked for a protest.
On Saturday, the first-grader from Takoma Park, Maryland, took her celebration to the White House, where dozens of activists of all ages gathered to speak out against President Donald Trump’s administration with messages of positivity.
The young demonstrators, some no more than four feet tall, held up picket signs reading “kid power,” “love trumps hate,” and “Black lives matter.”
Even the pink-frosted birthday cupcakes featured phrases like “protect kids, not guns” and “families belong together,” a clear rebuke of Trump’s policy of separating migrant children from their parents.
Takoma Park Mayor Kate Stewart was at the rally, telling HuffPost that Kiyoko’s parents reached out to her with an invite on their daughter’s behalf.
“I thought, ‘Gee, how could I turn that down?’” Stewart said.
Stewart explained that the point of the protest was to think “about the world we want to create and the one we want to be living in, and about how we can uplift people and be respectful and be kind.”
“In the context we’re living in right now, there is a lot of hurtful and hateful language, and for our young people, I think a lot of us are very afraid of the impact this is having on them,” she added.
There were calls from the crowd for Kiyoko to launch a presidential bid in 2047, but she told The Washington Post she’s not keen on the idea.
“Embarrassing,” she said. “I do not want to be president.”