Written by: Sofia Colombo

Donald Trump is not someone I hate. He is someone who I despise. He preaches hate. There is no other name for the words that come out of his mouth. Some would call it truth, but most of his rhetoric is far from that. I personally prefer to spread love. And peace. And unity. And apparently, a lot of other people feel the same way.

On the night of November 11th, I marched with a group of saddened millennials and high schoolers. We may have been disappointed in how little our fellow citizens seemed to care about us, but we were also determined to prove them wrong. So we marched. And we shouted. And we chanted. “Love trumps hate!” “Black lives matter!” “Muslim lives matter!” “We are all welcome here.” These were all true, factual statements, but they were also very important pieces of information that we felt half our country was not aware of, and also things that our President-elect consistently lies about. We are here to correct him.

I am a human being. I am a citizen of the United States and I deserve to be treated as such. But my future President does not acknowledge that. He has said himself that he doesn’t respect me or anyone like me. He has not given respect to the 17.7 million women in America who have been sexually assaulted in the last eighteen years. Nor has he given it to the 3.3 million Muslim American citizens, of which the overwhelming majority, are major assets to our society. He has not given any respect to the 9 million queer people in the U.S. And he, most definitely, has not give it to the 39 million historically disenfranchised Black Americans, who are sick and tired of fighting to be recognized as fellow human beings. So, we will demand that respect.

Our trek began at the White House and ended at Trump International Hotel. Police officers helped us to blockade the streets and make our way safely. We passed by hundreds. We were booed, we were cheered. We were questioned and we were photographed, but best of all; we were heard. It was an atmosphere full of young, budding activists who were ready to be seen and heard. Our message was not exactly to protest Trump, but more or less, what he stands for and what he brought to light; and that is the hate in America that has existed since its birth. This country was born on the back of racism and slavery and it obviously has still not shed that odious trait.

We had to constantly remind ourselves that hate cannot be fought with hate. The urge to shout “Fuck Trump” was immense. Because honestly, fuck Donald Trump. But we are stuck with him, and we know that. But we also know that fire cannot be fought with fire. The only way to fight hate is with love. And peace. And unity. There is no other choice with a nation as divided as ours.

Moving forward we must not look to violence as a means to an end. Look at history. Did that work for our grandparents? The only thing we have to do is demonstrate our own humanity, and let other’s hatred of us, simply for our existence, be a reflection of their own bigotry and our resilience.

We are not our grandparents. We all know this. But we cannot stereotype and expect to not be stereotyped. We cannot harm if we do not wish to be harmed. We cannot disrespect others if we wish to be respected. We keep moving forward. We march, we protest, and we be who we are and do what we do best, which is; be American and exercise our rights.

Written by: Sofia Colombo

Images by: Samuel Wyn Adams