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What You Will See at a Trump Rally

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There are many emotions that come with knowing you are about to attend a Trump rally while also being a queer black girl: fear, resentment and, oddly, anticipation. The walk from the North Avenue train station to Midtown’s Fabulous Fox Theatre where the June 15 political rally was held, combined with the warm Atlanta weather left me tired, but I was quickly revitalized by the spectacle to come. The sun was raging. Anger was palpable, and drawl-y southern accents were slow and thick. I knew it was going to be an experience. This is what I saw:

1) Protesters

Donald Trump protesters are among the most passionate. Signs will say “Donald Trump Hates Grits,” “Donald Trump is the Antichrist” or simply “F**k Trump.” Chants will include “Black Lives Matter,” “No Islamophobia,” and the short song “Dear Donald Trump/ Go back to the woods/ Your policies are racist and your party’s no good.”

2) Cool T-shirts

Sayings on these shirts will include “Metro Don’t Trust Donald Trump” and “Black Lives Matter.” Many of those wearing these shirts will try and get into the rally, but because of an implied dress code (rally tickets said that there was not one but people wearing Black Lives Matter or LGBTQ+ apparel were turned away), they will not get in.

3) Racial Profiling

After walking through the line and showing our tickets, a fellow journalist and I were under the impression that we were in the clear and that we would soon witness the presumptive Republican nominee deliver a speech to remember. We were wrong, as we were refused entry due to one of us wearing a backpack, which were supposedly not permitted. As we made a few phone calls to see if someone could pick up the bag, we witnessed three other individuals with bags walk into the theatre without incident. Later, Alex Hariri, a friend we met earlier outside the theatre was asked to leave because of what was described as “suspicious behavior.” I wanted to offer him some water, but then I recalled him wishing my friend and I a happy “Ramadan Mubarak” earlier, so I figured that was not an option for him.

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4) A Strange Animosity Toward the Press

Members of the press were not allowed inside the main entrance unless they had previously been approved by the staff at media check-in. A member of the staff at media check-in said there was an official list of all press organizations allowed into the event. Even with press identification, we were not allowed in. Pens and paper were not allowed inside the event; the same went for cameras with detachable lenses.

5) Confederate Flags

These will be present in many forms, including but not limited to: stickers, T-shirts and tattoos.

6) Skinheads, White Supremacists and Other Racists

Often toting around item number five. Many watched my friend and me with a scowl. Many wore leather jackets in spite of the heat.

7) Unity

Alluding to item number one, whether they lean toward Bernie or Hillary, Independent or Democrat, straight or gay, individuals stood together outside against the threat of Donald Trump. They will dance to Whitney Houston, Beyonce and Kendrick Lamar together. Cars will honk at them in solidarity.

Trump protest photo above by Jahleelah Shaheed, VOX staff

Alimah Dawkins is a recent graduate of South Atlanta High School. She will attend Sarah Lawrence College in the fall, and her favorite director is Ryan Coogler.

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