Last night, I participated in the Solidarity Walk, a march led by a number of organizations up Walnut, across Locust, and down Spruce. Stationed at the front, I internalized the rhythm of our chants—Love Trumps Hate. Not Our President.—and synchronized it with my walking. I listened to people shout mostly positive things out their windows, listened to cars honk in support on the street. Afterwards, I went to the Speakout in the Hall of Flags and took my place in the crowd, a crowd wide open and hurting. I snapped and clapped next to my friend Elizabeth, my voice blown out of my throat.
A few minutes in, both Elizabeth and I decided we wanted to speak. I had words, but I wasn’t sure I could say any of them, let alone in the right order, in a way that made sense. I wrote out a list of things I wanted to talk about—Pence. Anxiety. Mattering.—on the back of the poem I planned to read, and one by one I talked about them. Even when I had to pause—especially when I had to pause—the feelings were mutual. The feelings were understood.
My sign for the march—a piece of poster board with a purple peace symbol and the words “F*CK HATE” written above it—crumpled into itself, soggy and tired and ripped at the edges. During the march, the words had bled into the symbol, which bled off the bottom edge of the poster. The result was unrecognizable but was somehow comforting, even beautiful. Here we were—wet, in pain, and unsure of how to make the best of Trump’s victory, but together.
To be clear, this is not a metaphor for America. This is America. The America I know and love and take pride in every single day is the America whose color, shape, size, language, religion, and body are indiscernible in their diversity. The America whose indiscernibility is a source of both beauty and experience, the America that finds value and pride—not fear and hatred—in diversity.