2016 election presidential election

Protesting Against Hate

Wednesday, November 23, 2016 Jen Lezan

The November 8th, 2016 election will go down in history as a tumultuous, disconcerting and heart wrenching moment. It was an explosive, populist and incredibly polarizing campaign. It was a campaign that took a serious and vindictive aim at minorities as well as the ideals of American democracy. It was a campaign that spewed ignorance and yet it also made promises to the part of the American population that has felt underserved. He also opened the doors to an alt-right conservative group that is set to be placed in the White House. A group of people that many fear will push back the many years of progress in the realms of women's rights, immigrant advocacy, equality for the LGBTQ community, inclusion and opportunity for people of all backgrounds and beliefs. Trump's election stood on the grounds of dividing our country, rather than bringing us together as his campaigns falsely promise.

Photography By: Perry Fish

Over the course of the 2 weeks since Trump was elected, protests have erupted all over the United States of America. These people are utilizing their rights to voice their discontent through organized assembly. On the other side of the coin, we are seeing an alarming increase in the uptick of mentions of hate crimes.  White supremacist organizations have been rejuvenated. A recent article in The Atlantic highlighted a video of an alt-right conference in Washington, D.C., where Trump’s victory was met with cheers and Nazi salutes. This is frightening for many people. As Adel Stan stated in an article about why we should be scared that Donald Trump was elected on Alternet.org, "There’s a toxic fluid in the bloodstream of the American body politic. Trump exemplifies it, but it doesn’t begin and end with him."

She's right. It doesn't begin and end with him. It begins and ends with us. It begins with the communities of which we are a part of. It begins with the division of middle and lower classes. It begins with the very evident idea that we are witnessing an "us versus them" mentality that was only emboldened by the Trump campaign. Trumps campaign was a built on promises that fed off the fears and hate of many in the United States. Many people were naive in not taking the Trump campaign seriously. Voter turn out was at an all time low in 20 years for the 2016 election. Only 55% of eligible voters cast a ballot. Perhaps, they didn't think their vote meant anything. Perhaps they couldn't make a decision. Then there is the idea that Donald Trump's over the top rhetoric, lack of experience and zany antics wouldn't make it through and that government would be out of their minds to allow this man into the White House. Yet, on November 9th 2016 - Donald Trump was appointed President Elect. Full measures of turnout won't be clear for as long as several more weeks, when election officials in the various states finish tabulating and certify the results. Yet, as of today Donald Trump has been appointed and many in the Chicago communities and beyond have decided to voice their concerns over this decision. 

Many have painted these protestors in a negative light. Dubbing them as whining losers who are upset their candidate didn't win. Stating that the protests have been violent outbursts. Yet, many of these protests have been peaceful and the reality behind these protests goes beyond party lines. Protesters are raising a range of concerns as they take to the streets in cities all over the U.S. It seems they are standing together on several key points. These organizers are making a direct statement against the rhetoric of Donald Trump. They want to build bridges not walls, they want to make it clear that they're not happy about the election results and they're not going to be quiet about it. This past week, Perry had the opportunity to photograph the recent protests in Chicago and I had the opportunity to speak with some of the protestors about why they have become involved. Check out the below article links for the full interviews from 5 protestors.

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