I Attended An Anti-Trump Rally in London. Here’s What Happened.
Unless you’ve been living on one of the newly discovered planets discovered by NASA, I’m sure you’re well aware of the antics of U.S President Donald Trump.
From highly publicized Twitter feuds to infringing on human and civil rights worldwide, Donald J. Trump has had, what can easily be described as, a volatile month in office. During my visit to the UK, I stumbled upon an Anti-Trump rally held in Parliament Square.
Here’s what happened…
The rally was in response to UK leaders wavering on a decision on whether or not to invite the 45th U.S. President to the U.K. for an official state visit. This drew ire from the British public, as 1.8 million people signed a petition asking for the invitation to be rescinded.
As I walked out of the Westminster tube station, I was immediately met by petitioners and volunteers with picket signs and clipboards. I had no idea what was happening. As I signed the petition, the woman behind the table asked where I was from and I responded, “I’m American.” “Oh!” Before I knew it I was holding a “No To Racism, No To Trump” sign and being escorted across the street.
Around 7,000 people had gathered outside in front of Westminster Abbey to listen to speakers and activists, including students, political columnists and Union leaders. There I stood, alongside minorities, students, immigrants, refugees, women, Muslims, and those identifying as LGBTQ, who were all gathered for a common purpose: to band against racism and bigotry. The crowd was calm and steady. As they set up and prepped the main stage, organizers led chants from bullhorns and camera crews began to set up shop. International reporters canvased the grounds in search for people to interview. Volunteers handed out picket signs, buttons, and solicited donations. The energy was mounting.
At that moment, as I walked around Parliament Square, I no longer felt like a tourist in London. I felt like I was back home in Oakland or Atlanta protesting, marching, and advocating as I had done for those killed and injured by police brutality and against lawmakers taking away women’s reproductive rights. I’ve never been one to cower from speaking out against racism. Having lived in Atlanta, Georgia, I’ve had my share of racists and bigots. Racism isn’t some false notion that black and brown people “make up” or use as an excuse. It’s real. It’s alive. And it’s dividing our nation even further.
I saw a variety of banners, signs and costumes. Even one old guy dressed as one of the Swedish terror victims!
I recognize it’s a privilege to live abroad and travel the world, but that doesn’t excuse me from speaking against what’s wrong. Inciting racism, bigotry, xenophobia, Islamphobia, and violence is not “Making America Great Again.” America can only be great when it’s doors are open, it’s tolerance is unwavering, and it acts on behalf of all nations and people for the greater good.
God Bless America.