There’s no doubt that our recent presidential campaign & subsequent election have left the nation (more) divided. Trump’s unexpected win over Clinton sparked numerous post-election protests throughout the U.S.. They started immediately after (some say “during”) the election and have continued throughout the week. Fortunately, for the most part, these have been non-violent in nature. Of course, as a nation, we have a history of non-violent protests. If you recall, their use played a significant role during the Civil Rights Era in bringing attention to the injustice African Americans faced. Non-violent protests were an essential part of creating the appetite for change in our country. Certainly, lawful protests have been used since, but they seem particularly poignant to me now. Recently, there have been numerous causes/reasons that have driven us to the streets to demonstrate our indignation, frustration, and sense of despair – Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ Rights, and Immigration to name a few. It seems that we are once again in turbulent times ( think civil unrest c. 1950’s-1960’s). But, just maybe… we never left. Just maybe… our ability to create instantaneous media coverage has simply brought attention to conditions that have always been. And, just maybe…these non-violent protest will once again spark the appetite for change. The very fact that these protests can occur is an incredible demonstration of the rights that we have as U. S. citizens. We can (ostensibly?) gather in public and voice our political opinions freely without fear of reprisal from the government, police, etc. Of course, I’m not telling you anything you didn’t already know, right? So with that as backdrop, I went to MacArthur Park in LA to photograph the Anti-Trump Protest & March to DTLA’s Federal Building.
Until yesterday, I’d never photographed this type of demonstration. The shear number of people participating was astounding; easily in the thousands with, what appeared to me, a truly diverse representation of gender, race, & class in the U.S. In addition to the crowds diversity, as a photographer, each individual’s visual display of dissent was as varied & notable. The literal & figurative “signs” displayed by the demonstrators ranged from suggestive to overtly graphic representations of everything from indignation to hopeful optimism for change. Excellent! That’s what I came to shoot!
The rally and march participants were polite, well controlled and, most of all, enthusiastic! I thought the energy level of the demonstrators was really exceptional. There seemed to be a continuous string of call-and-response chanting broken only by sporadic cheering as the lead group marched through DTLA. Of particular note was the groups passage through DTLA’s 3rd street tunnel. First, the exuberant chanting & cheering within that enclosed space was truly impressive . I’m talking winning-fans-at-the-Super Bowl levels of LOUD! I could literally feel each roar as it reverberated through the tunnel. Second, the lighting, graffiti’d walls, colorful signs & diverse crowd made for (IMHO) particularly striking photos. Yeah, I really dug this part of the journey.
The demonstrators wound their way through DTLA and ultimately gathered in front of the Federal Building. Of course, traffic along the way was REEEAAALLLY disrupted – Translation: if you were in a car along or adjacent to the route, you were kinda’ hosed. Yes…part of the point of this type of protest is to draw widespread attention to the issue -even from those who aren’t actively/willingly participating.
Back to the gathering at the Federal Building – the crowd was enormous! Although, it took a while for many of the demonstrators to arrive at the gathering location, it was an impressive sight when they did. There was plenty of chanting, cheering, speeches through bullhorns, & Trump piñatas hanging in effigy, but the enormous crowd remained calm & peaceful – as far as I could see.
Yeah, sounds corny, I know, but it was great to see the exercising of our inalienable rights up close and personal…check out the pics below.