By Jaclyn Boyes
As I stood in the FedEx store on Central Ave watching the photos print of Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche and Ricky Best, the men who were stabbed to death on train for protecting a Muslim woman, and the photo of Heather Heyer, the young woman who was killed in Charlottesville, the reality of their sacrifice overwhelmed my heart.
Trying to keep tears from falling on the fresh prints, I hurried out of the store and over to a friend’s house to make my protest sign. These Americans deserved a better president. They died as a part of the resistance. But a resistance to what? Republicans? Trump? I didn’t know. I only knew I wanted to follow the call to action from Heather’s Mom – “We’re Gonna Make it Count.”
In the days leading up to the protest many of my friends had decided against attending due to the recent violence in Charlottesville. I was slightly worried there wouldn’t be many people in attendance. But, as I turned the corner on 3rd St and Washington my fear evaporated. Standing with signs and t-shirts, expressing the many sentiments I feel towards this administration, were thousands of people. I immediately felt stronger. It was the same feeling I had attending the Women’s March in Washington DC, a feeling that we are stronger together.
However, within a few short minutes, I realized there was something much different about this rally. On the corner of the street was a man with a bullhorn shouting horrific racial slurs and with him were other white supremacist holding derogatory signs against Black Lives Matter and Muslims. I immediately found myself in a group of people shouting “terrorist” and “get out of my city.” Strangely, just minutes before I was calmly helping lost Trump supporters find their way to the right side of the street.
After the police moved the white supremacists away from the crowd, I sat on the side of the street with my head in my hands. Why did my typical response of love towards the opposition change to one of intense outrage and anger? I looked down at my sign, at the faces of the victims of domestic terrorism, and in that moment understood what they were resisting. These Americans gave their lives resisting the rise of white supremacy.
I now understand that when you deeply care for your country and humanity, the most loving thing you can do is to tell a white supremacist loudly and clearly that their hate will not be tolerated. Then, you match the level of outrage with the same level of organization. I choose to channel my outrage towards local organizing that will help turn Arizona Blue. I cannot single-handedly stop white supremacy, but I can work to elect officials who will do what Trump has refused to do–stand up against white supremacy and domestic terrorism in America.
Taliesin, Ricky, and Heather, we will make it count.