In response to Donald Trump’s abrupt decision to fire FBI Director James Comey, dozens of activists, including myself, gathered to join MoveOn.org’s call to continue a thorough and independent investigation of President Trump’s campaign and administration’s ties to Russia. Within only a few hours’ notice, an impressive number of protestors gathered around the White House where President Trump had just met with Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov. Fittingly so, the protest was complete with an array of Russian flags and even a giant papier-mâché puppet of President Trump to greet both Lavrov and Ambassador Kislyak on their way out.
Being my second ever protest and one of the few young people I saw there, I didn’t know what to expect. However, what I experienced was much more moving than I ever could have imagined. Something about a couple hundred angry business people protesting outside of the White House on their lunch break is deeply touching. Maybe it’s their dedication to our democracy or their selflessness in using time that is carved out as their own to stand up for their beliefs, or maybe even it’s the collective civic engagement of people who have decided to fight for something bigger than themselves. Regardless, complete with last minute signs made of manila folders, these people used their lunch break not to satisfy their empty stomachs but their insatiable hunger for liberty. Listening to DNC Chair Tom Perez speak, the crowd came alive. Chants of “country over party” and even just “Shame!” surrounded me. In that moment, I felt more like an American than I ever had before. With every new chant and every new speaker, the energy of the crowd grew as did my faith in democracy and dedication to our great nation.
I left the protest invigorated, and prepared to storm the White House a million more times in opposition of whatever new regressive policy the administration decided throw in my path. No matter what is next on Trump’s agenda, I am prepared to stand with my brothers and sisters to fight for the good of our nation. I am confident that after what I witnessed, justice will be served where it is due. These protests invoke confidence that our elected officials will be held accountable for their decisions. We, the people who protest, vote, and advocate can ensure that unacceptable actions do not go unnoticed. We will raise our voices to be sure elected officials know what our communities want and need. The time is now to act against Trump’s attacks on the environment, democracy, and those who can’t stand up for themselves. Everyone deserves clean air, clean water, and a healthy life regardless of their location or economic status. As our president, it is Trump’s responsibility to uphold these basic rights and ensure we’re leaving a safe, clean planet for my generation and all generations to come.
While this impromptu protest attracted dozens of people, we’ve also witnessed crowds of hundreds of thousands taking their deep concerns to the streets, such as during last month’s Peoples Climate March, where people across the country demanded action to tackle the climate crisis. It is clear that people in this country have no intention of letting anyone stand in the way of justice, equality, and a clean, healthy environment—not even during their lunch break.