The following story is one reporter’s experience following the August shooting in the Oregon District. It does not represent the views of the Clarion as a whole.
I believe there will never truly be peace until poverty and other major inequalities become eradicated. Right now, the only way peace can be achieved is fighting the people who cause inequalities to thrive. The rampant gun violence throughout America is making peace impossible. So, I did what I believe is necessary.
I’ve always been sick of the lies from the White House, but once I heard that Trump would be coming to our mourning city as a PR stunt; I was enraged. I couldn’t sit idly by while my people were suffering and being fed empty promises from a corrupt businessman. So, I went to protest.
It was a hot summer day when I arrived outside of Miami Valley Hospital, the hospital where my own life began, the hospital I — in some primal way — felt was under attack. Sweat beaded on my forehead as I joined a decent crowd of people with a sidewalk separating two halves of the crowd.
One side, people holding MAGA banners and signs welcoming the president. The other, my side, holding everything from “Welcome to Toledo” to “Veterans Against Assault Rifles.” It was surreal, unlike the KKK counter-protest the crowds were just about the same size.
Then time itself froze as I caught a man with mirror sunglasses and a suit staring right at me. He briskly walked to the black van stationed across the road in the parking spots.
I have never seen a secret service member before, the fear and curiosity I felt in that single moment solidified to me what I was doing was real and important.
The most impactful moment in my fight for America to become peaceful was ironically when I screamed “DO SOMETHING” at the top of my lungs to the presidential motorcade as I saw Trump’s silhouetted arm wave from behind the darkened glass.
He was hidden from the public, refusing to drive down the Oregon District. A moment that was anything but peaceful, one where tensions were high and people were shouting at each other. This is what I’m positive about, this is what I’m optimistic about. Sometimes, in dire times, resistance is necessary for peace. The resistance is here. Change can happen, all it takes is one movement, one voice.