Last night (March 11th, 2016), I had the pleasure of attending the Trump 2016 rally, and taking part in a historic moment in the 2016 presidential election.
I arrived at the rally to see 1000s of people have already shown up to protest. I found my friend who I planned on meeting up with. He and I went around the block to get passed the barricades of police officers, some of whom who were mounted on horses, so we could sneak in line to get into the rally.
While we were in line, there were two young college students behind us. I turned to them and had a feeling that they weren’t trump supporters, I still decided to gauge their interests by asking them why they supported Trump. One of the girls hesitated and then said “umm… because.. He’s going to make America great again.” I then smiled at her and said “You guys aren’t Trump supporters, don’t worry neither are we.”
We entered the building and were stopped for security checks that involved metal detectors and getting patted down. They were search bags and for signs. I had a sign that I hid in my wallet, but as I saw that they started the checking the wallet of the guy in front of me. I quickly grabbed my sign and hid in my pants, knowing that they would not pat me down in that area. *insert winky-face emoji*.
Once all 5 of us were inside, we found seats behind these two trump supporters who were in their mid 40s-50s. They looked at us, and were suspicious. Meanwhile, an announcement came on the loud speaker which said “Attention, if there are protesters here, do not engage the protesters, notify the nearest security guards, and Chicago police will escort the protesters out.” I was talking to my friends, to find out that one of them in front of us has left his seat. I quickly grabbed my friends, and said we need to change seats. So, we did. It was obvious that the guy left to grab security.
Throughout the waiting period for the rally to start, there were Black Lives Matter protesters who were escorted out by police while the crowd started chanting “All lives matter!”
About 45 minutes later, a Trump spokesperson came onto the stage and announced that the rally was postponed. Immediately, half of the people teared up the “Trump 2016 signs” and began cheering. Bernie signs started appearing, and the crowd chanting “Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!”.
Trump Supporters and protesters began to rush to the floor that was originally guarded by security. Fights began to break out as Trump supporters who were extremely pissed off started to attack protesters.
The Trump supporters around me began to yell out racist slurs to the black people and mexican people; they were fuming with anger.
As I was being pushed off the floor by police, this one Trump supporter, began to attack protesters and tear up people’s Bernie Sanders signs, he assaulted a young college student, he began to try to take her American flag. As I and others rushed in to get him off of her, about 6 Chicago police officers began to grab people and push them back. They let the Trump supporter keep the girl’s flag, and begin to push protesters out of the building. I approached one of the officers and began asking why he didn’t arrest the Trump supporter. The police officer just told me to keep moving. I refused, and told him that I was not leaving until he either arrest the Trump supporter for assaulting a young women or give me an explanation why. After a few back and forths with this officer, backup of about 4 other officers surrounded me, and they began to push me and continued to push me until I was out of the building.
Once outside, the 1000s of people who were outside has received the news, and were chanting “We stopped Trump!”
Trump supporters still began to attack protesters while the rest of them began to walk back to their car. The surrounding blocks were covered with police and fire trucks, The streets were lit with red and blue flashing lights.
We began to chant as Trump supporters left the rally from the parking garage. “No Trump, No KKK, no racists in the USA!”
Here’s a picture of me right after I was back outside, and I joined other protesters.
The crowd then began to chant “Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!”
It was mesmerizing to see thousands of young people to come out and stand up against bigotry in Chicago.
Many people argue that what we did last night was censorship, but in my opinion, it was the definition of democracy. Trump does have a right to speak, but we also have the right to protest his speech, and in the end Trump made the decision not to speak, and not us. Many claimed that we censored him, but it was Trump who censored himself. Censorship would have been denying him the ability to speak in general.
I wanted to recap my own personal story from the rally so those who were not there could see what really happened. It was not us that was violent, it was started by the Trump supporters who were angry that the rally was cancelled.