I will never forget my first protest. I am so happy I went. I arrived an hour and a half early because I was too excited and didn’t want to run into any problems like traffic. The protest took place in a low-end area where the Hispanic community thrives. My favorite kind of place. As I was waited for more people to show, I walked around to see what the Hispanic abuelas and mothers were selling. An Asian lady wearing all black, a hat, and sunglasses then approached me and asked to see what my sign said. My sign said “In the name of humanity, we refuse to accept a fascist America” (some organization was handing the signs out so I took one)
I will never forget what happened next. She then pulled out a small sign from her bag and it said “love for everyone.” Then she looked at me with a face full of fear and shakily said “You know I’m really scared. What’s going to happen?” She started to cry. It then struck me how serious and dangerous a Trump presidency can be and what’s caused. This older Asian lady was crying to me because she’s scared of what will happen when she leaves her house. We were talking and sharing stories of what’s already happened in the few days since Trump was elected.
I will never forget what happened after that too. As we were talking and holding our posters, a white man walked by and yelled “Give it a rest!” As in to accept the fact that our country is being ran by a racist, vile, misogynist, homophobic, sexist, rapist, and dishonest man. As in to accept the fact that the vice president thinks I should undergo electroshock therapy to cure me of being gay. As in to accept the fact that 11 million illegal immigrants, my family and friends, should be deported and killed. As in to accept the fact that I won’t be believed when I report a sexual assault. As in to accept the fact that human beings are going to be treated based on their gender, race/ethnicity, sexuality, skin tone, and class. Just like how it was back in the 60’s.
“Fuck you!” I yelled back. The lady hugged me and we parted ways. After that, I was even more inspired to protest.
I was amazed by how many people showed up. There was a great energy going around because so many of us came out to fight for what we think is right. There was a strong sense of unity and it was empowering. In a country that is so divided, it was nice to the huge turnout and happy faces.
We marched right through traffic! At first, I felt bad and ashamed. The media has depicted protesters as violent and disrespectful for blocking traffic for those going to work. I didn’t want to be upholding that image as we walked through traffic where people were trying to get to work. I didn’t want to inconvenience anyone. And then I realized the actual purpose of this protest. This “inconvenience” is only a minor temporary one for those who happen to driving in the area. What about the inconveniences minorities will have to face now that Trump is president? It’s already happening. People are sharing stories about how they’re getting their hijabs ripped off their head at the mall, being harassed while getting gas, and just being attacked while out doing daily things. People get mad, annoyed even, with protesters. What’s the point? some people say. The point is this: if you don’t want to listen then we’re going to make you listen. Minorities have been fighting for their rights for a century. They didn’t fight that long fight just to have it happen again under Donald Trump. We’re crying out on social media about the hate that’s being spewed only to be answered with more hate. If people won’t listen online then it has to be taken to the streets, where all the past activism has taken place. Police are getting away with murder, rapists get a light jail sentence for having good grades, people are struggling on the minimum wage. Meanwhile, Trump wants to get rid of affordable healthcare, give tax cuts to the top 1%, and get rid of all people who aren’t white.