By: Anastasia White
On April 13, a few friends and I decided to attend the Donald Trump rally as devoted protesters. We wanted to take a stand against Donald Trump’s discriminatory policies. My group of friends consisted of three African Americans, including myself, a woman who is half-white and half-Hispanic, and a white transgender man. As we walked down Fifth Avenue, we noticed a long line of Trump supporters waiting to get into the rally. The line went from up the steps of the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall to the Bellefield Presbyterian Church. As we passed the line of supporters, we were stopped by a man selling shirts that said “Trump That B***h.” The other side of the shirt read, “Hillary Sucks, But Not As Good As Monica.” I found the slogan to be appalling and blatantly disrespectful to both women being referred to. After we said no thanks to buying the shirt, he moved toward a mother in line, who bought the shirt for her young daughter to wear at the rally.
My friends Simon Caccia (white transgender man) and Kayla Lopez (half-white and half-Hispanic) jumped over the wall at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Center, and made it to the center of the green where the organized protest was being held. LaShawnda Ramsey, Raven Burrell, and I took some time to observe our surroundings before we joined them. We were standing before a few older Trump supporters when suddenly we heard a gravelly voice say: “Look at those n*****s.” We looked back to see three elderly white men; they looked disgusted by our existences. We walked away, because we did not feel the need to engage with narrow minded people.
After that, LaShawnda, Raven, and I joined Kayla and Simon in the center of the green. I was still taken back by the fact that my friends and I were called the N-word in this day and age. I honestly thought progress was made, but this made me feel like America stepped backwards. I continued to observe the growing line of supporters, while I started to get sick to my stomach and felt on the brink of tears. The supporters were chanting “Build that wall” in the hopes of covering the voices of the protesters yelling, “Liberation not deportation!”
Protesters surrounding me had signs that varied from “Make America Gay Again,” to “Trump Roots For Penn State.” An agitated Trump supporter got into heated arguments with protesters about healthcare. Instead of backing up his arguments, the supporter decided to insult the protesters by saying they were probably college students studying Liberal Arts, and ultimately weren’t going to make anything of themselves. An African American protester retorted that he was a Pre-Med student, that he’s going to be a doctor one day. The Trump supporter said he “highly doubts it.”
On the right edge of the green, there was a man dressed like Jesus, preaching that Donald Trump endorses him, and he is what America needs to be great again. The man also recited Bible scriptures, relating them to the work and vision of Donald Trump. The man became surrounded by protesters. They blocked him with a sign that read, “F*** Trump”.
An hour after I arrived, the protest group grew bigger and more agitated. The protesters and I were face-to-face with police officers guarding the event. The police officers remained still as we chanted “Black Lives Matter” into their faces. Behind the police officers stood Trump supporters taking pictures of us, laughing, slinging insults our way. Some protesters felt the need to push through the cops, so they could hear Trump speak, but the police officers just pushed them back. Before the rally got any worse, I left because I had a feeling it was going to turn violent. As I walked back home, I reflected on what I saw and heard: Trump supporters chanted, promoted discrimination in our country; my friends and I were called names just for being African Americans. We were criticized for being liberal and speaking up and against injustices. Overall, my experience at the Trump rally left me distressed and worried about whom America wants to elect as president.
Featured Image: Protestors at the rally, holding a Black Lives Matter sign; photo taken by Chant Robinson