by Mari Goldman
I was on my way to shut down a Donald Trump rally with a team of activists. As an experienced organizer, I was prepared. I had registered for the rally under an alias and had a ticket to the event. Everything seemed to be running smoothly until I got just past security.
“Mari? Mari?? MARI?! Yes! You!” Somehow the security team knew me by my real name. I turned around and froze as an officer picked me out of the group and demanded my ID.
I frantically searched through my wallet, hoping to waste time until I could come up with a plan. My organizing team told the officer that I’m a minor, only 16 years old, and therefore did not have ID. But it was too late. How did they know me? Had they been following my posts on social media?
The officers told me I had to leave. As I was escorted out of the venue, I yelled, “I am a U.S. citizen, I pay my taxes, it is my right to be here.” I had hoped this would make it seem like I loved Trump and would be able to return. But I saw the way Trump supporters looked at me being removed and was reminded of what I risked by speaking up, because of my Blackness, my queerness, my femininity, my immigration, my youth, and my class. After that, I stayed silent.
After being forcibly removed, my team came outside to stand with me. It was freezing outside but my heart was warmed by the support and power of Black love and collective care.
This incident has left me traumatized. It’s not every day you have an officer you’ve never met yell your name in your face. As I revisit what happened, I wish I had demanded that Trump’s security tell me why I was removed and how they knew I would be there.
To many people, Trump appears strong because he has yet to have people take over his stage. But it is important to understand that is not a sign of strength, but one of weakness. He hides behind an impenetrable wall of money and influence that makes it difficult to challenge him.
I, a rather short and chubby 16 year old Black girl, was not allowed in to the Trump rally because they were afraid of what I would do.
But, is Trump not running for President? Do we trust our lives in the hands of a man who operates on fear and fear alone? How can we let someone run our nation if he fears the presence of young Black women and will not let them into his rallies? A true leader does not stand in front of their followers, but rather behind.
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It is precisely Trump’s fear of us that makes him so dangerous. Trump has already called to not let Muslims enter this country, relying upon language of fear and hatred, specifically Islamphobia. With Trump in leadership, all things that he is scared of, such as Black people, Muslims, successful women, China, and Latinx people, will inspire violence. In fact, his words already have had negative impacts. A few months ago, in Boston, a homeless Latino man was beaten up by brothers inspired by Trump’s words. Trump’s ignition of fear and hatred is the last thing we need in this country of so much division and violence.
It is important to also look at this incident in relationship to how another candidate, Bernie Sanders, responded to having his rally taken over by protesters. Trump described the Black Lives Matter takeover of Sanders as “disgusting” and “that it showed such weakness, the way he was taken away by two young women. The microphone, they just took the whole place over.”
A true leader does not use their power to further their own agenda, but rather the agenda of the collective. Bernie Sanders’ ability to step away and eventually give the mic to Black women, listen to them, and then create a plan for Black lives is a sign of leadership. Donald Trump’s ability to ensure that entry be denied to me, to not listen to the protestors and engage in dialogue, and to continually devalue and dehumanize the lives of U.S. citizens is a sign of dictatorship.
What we need in the United States is not fear, but love. We need to be able to collectively care for one another in the face of division, violence, and hate.
If it weren’t for my team and the support of my community, I would not be able to write these words and share my story. Having the ability to frighten Donald Trump, the epitome of amerikkka, gives me an empowering feeling. He is scared of the power that I have and is scared of what I can do with it. If one man who garners thousands of supporters is fearful of me, I can only imagine how scared the system must be of me, of us.
I am only one person and can only do so much. But if there were more of us, if there were a collective of us who constantly showed up in whatever way possible, we would have enough power to stay when a pig tells us to leave. We would be there when any of us gets hurt, so that we can heal collectively. Remember that Trump and his supporters run on the basis of fear and hatred while our revolution runs on the basis of solidarity, love, and liberation. And for those reasons, we are gonna win in the end.
Mari Goldman is a Black queer (don’t tell her parents) Boston area freedom fighter who can be sighted at nearly every single direct action. And if not at an action, is planning one or eating injera and trying to get through high school.
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