Last night, thousands gathered in downtown Los Angeles to protest the new president-elect, Donald Trump. I woke up yesterday morning after many nightmares, feeling devastated, ashamed, and completely broken. I felt that our country had come such a long way, and so much had just been taken away over the course of a night. I spent most of my morning in bed crying, and feeling defeated. Around 9 p.m. I heard that there were protests taking place in downtown LA and I made my way over immediately. Instantly, my mood transformed from defeated to hopeful and inspired. The streets were electric. The immense diversity of people shouting and marching, protesting everything Trump stands for, was beautiful. I suddenly felt as if I was part of something; like I belonged amongst young people who were proud to be themselves. There were women raising their hands high and baring hairy armpits, queer couples holding hands without fear, and men wearing makeup — these are the people that make this nation so special.
All of the protesters were extremely friendly. We’d bump into each other, offer a ‘sorry’ and a peace sign, and help one another move forward on the march. We marched, united, along Spring Street and the 101 Freeway. Police officers were there and they felt like a strong opposition. They stood defensively, wearing riot gear, with aggressive looks on their faces. I saw two officers cocking and loading massive rifles filled with tear gas. They kept chasing us for no apparent reason. Twice, groups of protesters were forced to run away. It didn’t feel as if the police were there for us, to serve the people; it felt as if they wanted to stop us from exercising our right to protest — and, as I left, they were literally trying to stop us by saying we only had five minutes left to be on the streets. But we were there in peace, disquieted and pissed off at the election results. We were there as the people, for the people. We were, without a doubt, stronger together.