With colorful placards, American flags and a few "pussy cat" ears, members of Grand Lake Indivisible made their thoughts known as they took part in the localized portion of the national Tax Day March.
For approximately one hour, on Saturday, April 15, more than 20 members brandished signs, waved to passing drivers and yelled thank you to encouraging honks - all in support of President Donald J. Trump releasing his tax records.
The march, which took place between along Third Street, from Main to Broadway, was part of a host of national marches taking place throughout the nation - including one in Oklahoma City.
Yana Livesay, one of Grand Lake Indivisible leaders, summed up the group's goals for the local march.
"We think it's important that Mr. Trump show us his taxes," Livesay said, adding that it's important to determine if the records might show the president having a conflict of interest that might influence his job. "Other presidents have always [disclosed their taxes], why not him."
For one Grove resident, the march was also a chance to express his concerns about gerrymandering - or the manipulation of election districts in favor of one party or another - the environment, and treatment of people within the state.
"I want my voice to be heard," Casey Merciez said. "There are progressives within the state of Oklahoma. We want our politicians to do better."
Randy Lunsford, who lives and works on Monkey Island, echoed Merciez's thoughts.
"There's so much to protest," explained Lunsford. "I don't feel safe where I am."
As an entertainer, Lunsford is used to living in the spotlight. Usually, the openly gay man said he does not have any issues with area residents.
However, earlier this year, he was "accosted" on Monkey Island after leaving a Mardi Gras party.
Lunsford said the man - whom he later determined to be a Vietnam veteran - grabbed him by the neck, tried to pull off all of his Mardi Gras beads and then slugged him in the stomach.
"I've lived in Los Angeles for 20 years, Oklahoma City for 10, Kansas City for two pretty much as an out, gay man," Lunsford said. "This was the first time I've felt fear.
"It could have been a lot worse. I think he singled me out because he looked at me and thought, 'who is this fag'."
Lunsford said he believes the Trump presidency ushered in a "political climate" where everyone "feels they can come out with bigoted, homophobic and mean comments."
Cheryl Swyden of Grove said she was marching because she believes Trump should release his tax records - in order to prove his conflicts of interests are limited.
"I do not approve of this administration," Swyden said. "So much has been done to reduce the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] in the budget, to the Syrian refugee philosophy.
"We can bomb Syria and show empathy, but in the next breath, refuse Syrian refugees access to come here."
Richard Cannon, owner and operator of Woodlands Hills Resort, marched carrying a "water is life" sign.
Cannon said he is worried Trumps' changes to the EPA will eventually impact life on Grand Lake.
He said someone - be it federal or state - needs to regulate conditions on the lake to ensure the climate and water remains safe for the current and future generations.
More about Grand Lake Indivisible
Grand Lake Indivisible formed shortly after Trump's inauguration in January. The group is a local chapter of Oklahoma Indivisible, which is a branch of the national organization.
The group's leaders include Bob and Yana Livesay, Mac and Debra Mac, Richard and Shelly Cannon, Laura Lively, Ray Jones and JoAnn Walkup.
Yana Livesay said the organization began to form after several of the admin team attended the Women's March in Oklahoma City, out of a concern that civil liberties might be at risk under the Trump administration.
"So many of us were feeling sad, and emotional and didn't know what to do," Livesay said. "We thought we would form a little group that could work to make a difference in our community."
The group, which began with three initial members, has grown to 125 participants in less than three months.
Livesay said many members have joined because they are "sad and mad" the country has elected a president who has "bragged about being a sexual predator" and who may "tear our very democracy to shreds."
"This feels like it's moving more toward a dictatorship," Livesay said. "I'm concerned about the Russian connections.
"We need to do something for our country, do something to stop this."
Since the January Women's March, Livesay said, several members have taken to wearing pink "pussy cat" ears as a non verbal protest against Trump's reported conversations concerning grabbing a woman's genitalia.
"For us, it's a cute way to take back our femininity," Livesay said. "It's a woman's response to our own womanhood, and that we don't appreciate this type of misogynistic behavior."
Livesay said many women who were past victims of sexual assault, including herself, felt "betrayed and confused" when "decent people" voted Trump in as president.
She said many, including herself, went back into counseling after Trump's election triggered feelings associated with previous instances of abuse.
"It made me feel abused all over again," Livesay said.
Livesay said in addition to civil liberties and issues concerning women and members of the LGBTQ community, Grand Lake Indivisible members are also concerned with a variety of issues including education, the environment, fair elections, human rights, and Russia and arms.
"Most of us are interested in community service and making our community better," Livesay said. "We also want to resist anything divisive in the Trump agenda through peaceful means."
In the last month, members of Grand Lake Indivisible have been a public presence at the town hall meetings throughout District 2 hosted by Congressman Markwayne Mullin (R-Oklahoma).
Livesay said members wanted to question Mullin's stances on the EPA - especially as it relates to Tar Creek and water quality, and other issues that impact the Grand Lake region.
Livesay said the membership became disappointed, when Mullin limited the number of questions and also went on various media sources claiming the group was filled with people paid to cause a disruption.
In fact her husband, Bob Livesay, who videotaped each meeting, said Mullin's "false statements" not only put the group members at risk, it "is akin to starting a small civil war, and it seems an attempt at blocking valid and truthful dialogue between concerned citizens and their representatives and between one another."
"It's discouraging to observe elected officials engage in such falsehoods in an attempt to discourage dialogue and to de-legitimize the largest grass roots political movement in the history of our county," Bob Livesay said. "We are proud Americans and concerned citizens engaging in our democracy."
Ultimately, Yana Livesay said, members of the organization - which includes both Democrats and Republicans - are not only patriotic, but also believe in the power of a strong democracy.
Next weekend, several members including the Livesays, plan to take part in a march to support science education within the state of Oklahoma.
That march, slated for Saturday, April 22, will take place at the Oklahoma State Capitol, in Oklahoma City.
The group plans to hold a "Support our State Parks" rally and pot-luck dinner at noon, on Sunday, May 21, at Honey Creek State Park.
It currently meets on the first and third Saturdays of each month on the Northeastern Oklahoma A&M Campus in Grove.
For more information, persons interested may visit grandlakeindivisible.com or call JoAnn Walkup at 405-301-5522.