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The group was passionate, but peaceful… mostly young people, all clearly feeling very upset at the election results. They took to the streets of the city to voice their displeasure.

While some say “what’s the point” and “it’s too late” – I think the point is clear. For a great number of people, the opinions voiced by the President-Elect are not just objectionable, they are terrifying. His words are direct threat to the safety of women, people of color, anyone on the LGBTQ+ rainbow, immigrants, and a whole list of marginalized people.

Do I believe that a protest is going to change the election results? Or magically make the country somehow say, “Whoops, our bad, let’s just erase that and have a do-over, m’kay”… No.

What I do think is that protests will make people sit up and listen. I think it may be effective in uniting those with common concerns. I think it sends an important message – to those marginalized folks? You are not alone. You have allies.

To those who do not understand? Those who hurl epithets, or who (as one man at a Trump rally did) say they believe in “respecting women” while they’re wearing a shirt that reads “Trump that bitch” and “Hillary sucks, but Monica’s better” (yeah, that’s real respect right there). To those people? I hope these protests make you uncomfortable. I hope they shake your foundation and make you question your beliefs. I hope they stir something inside you to make you realize that yours is not the only view that matters, and that others who may not look like you, or think like you, are just as deserving of not only the same human rights as you, but the same level of courtesy and respect. I do realize that’s a tall order.

When I posted these images on social media, my Twitter feed blew up. A couple of news agencies asked for permission to share the pictures (granted). One asked for an on air interview – not granted. Why? Because I wasn’t sure what the questions would be like. Because I wasn’t interested in being labeled as an anti-Trump protestor. Because I want to be able to take time to express myself thoughtfully. Because… Because… Because…

I believe in the right of the people to protest. When Baltimore erupted in April 2015 over the death of Freddie Gray, the protests were not the problem. The subsequent riots and looting were the problem. I don’t know how the rest of this protest went, but what we saw here in our neighborhood was orderly and peaceful.

On social media, I see people grieving, people stunned, people dealing with all levels of shock, or anger, or frustration.

I am none of those things. The shock passed quickly. The anger passed soon after. Frustration was quickly replaced with something that burns far brighter – determination.

I am determined to be a part of the solution for a better tomorrow. I cannot change the past. I cannot change today. But I can sure as hell make sure I do my damnedest to bring about a country where ALL of my friends and family are treated equally.