Thousands of protesters marched down the streets of downtown Chicago on Nov. 9 in opposition towards Donald Trump’s election victory.
The vocal crowd, which included a group of protesters led by Columbia University sophomore Isabella Aimone, were seen chanting and flipping off Trump’s 98-story skyscraper.
“We want to make sure the world sees that here in Chicago, one of the most diverse cities in the country, we will not allow Donald Trump to have power over us and we will not allow him to take away our culture, our neighbors and our friends,” Aimone said.
Helicopters hovered above as crowds mostly made up of young college students filled the streets and blocked incoming motorists who honked their horns and waved their fists in encouragement, some even high-fiving protesters as they passed by.
“The cars we blocked weren’t at all upset by the protest,” Aimone stated. “We had them honking with us, chanting with us, sticking their hands out the window to high-five us as we passed, playing music very loudly for us. We even witnessed people crawl out onto the roof of their car, and out their windows to join us. It was very beautiful.”
One Trump supporter that passed by the marching protestors screamed “I voted for Trump,” but was barely audible as the overpowering voices of protesters filled the city.
“I did hear that the later protests did have some counter protesters, but I doubt their voices out-spoke any of ours,” said Aimone.
Chicago, along with other big cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Portland, Washington D.C. and Boston witnessed demonstrations sparked by Trump’s rhetoric against marginalized groups like Latinos, Muslims, women, immigrants and the those in the LGBTQ community.
As the protest went on, some protesters climbed onto CTA buses holding up a giant yellow baby with Trump’s head and chanted offensive language and vandalized bus stops and sidewalks.
The presence of the Chicago police on horseback did little to subdue the energy of the frustrated protesters who spat on the ground and made bold remarks such as “F--- the police.” Even escalating to the point of pushing a line of police on horseback to try and break their lines and continue moving the protest.
In response to the change in the protest’s tone, EC Sophomore Bri Uriostegui said that violence was not the message people should be sending.
“Stopping traffic, being on the news, etc. is enough to get people watching. While in the protest, I noticed so many instances where the violent individuals were not wanted with the majority of the group,” Uriostegui said in an email interview.
Others such as Junior Frances Diedrich and her group of coworkers from Columbia University stood in a circle across from Trump’s building and chose to offer free hugs and held signs stating: “If you are Native American we love you” and “If you are Gay we support you.”
“Many people in the main protest were shouting things like ‘F---- Donald Trump.’ I’ll be honest, I definitely wanted to shout that too. But at that moment, we wanted to just spread love and positivity and try to show others that there were people who cared about them,” Diedrich said.
Onlookers responded to Diedrich’s group with tears and hugs while others took pictures of their demonstration.
“Of course there were a few hateful comments from Trump supporters, [but] for the most part, everyone seemed to be so thankful for what we were doing. So many of us got hugs from the people our signs were for. Other people went down the line and hugged each of us,” Diedrich said.
A group of protesters were seen passing out flowers to surrounding protesters and hugs were exchanged between two women who seemed to be strangers.
“We’ll get through this,” one woman stated to the other.
“I hugged at least 100 strangers that night,” Diedrich said. “I know it’s a weird thing to say in light of recent events, but I truly felt surrounded by so much love in those few hours, even as I stood there crying over the future of our country. It was an incredibly therapeutic experience.”
“It is very moving to see a crowd this big and united, especially one so full of youth displaying the future of this country,” Aimone said.
Protesters of many nationalities continued this sense of unity by linking arms and walking behind the Mexican flag chanting “Si se puede,” showing pride and support for a culture they were not a part of.
“We are showing him that not only are our minorities and women strong, so are our allies and we are going to stand strong together,” Aimone said.