WASHINGTON, D.C. — While most attendants came to Washington, D.C., to celebrate the inauguration of Donald Trump, a vocal group continued to protest the man many Americans do not want leading their country.
The 64-year-old Seattle native Trip Allen carried a Black Lives Matter sign stuck with painter’s tape to a pink Thunderstick, an inflatable noisemakers they pass out at sporting events to make everyone as loud as possible.
“I could not sit by and let democracy fade away,” Allen said. “I felt like I had to bear witness and raise my voice, right at this moment.”
Security had specific regulations for the crowd about signs and banners at the inauguration. They demanded the posters be within certain dimensions and banned any poles or supports to hold up posters altogether. Allen’s sign was only slightly larger than a piece of computer paper, and he wasn’t using a traditional support to hold his message above the crowd.
The Thunderstick did not faze the group of soldiers standing on the other side of the crowd-control fence.
Others were not so stoic.
“What about my life?” someone taunted a few feet behind Allen. “What about my life? I’m a white person. My life matters, too!”
Allen argued back that white people are already privileged, saying he was more concerned about the lives of his sister, who had come with him from Chicago and those of his young adult children.
Even as a few more people joined in on the yelling, Allen did not become visibly frightened. He said there was too much security for him to worry about anyone retaliating.
“I would take a licking and not think a second about it if somebody’s gonna beat me up,” Allen said.
Although he stood alone, many other dissenters also had the same idea to come watch the inauguration, and many stood around him.
He may not have feared for his safety when the arguing began, but two Georgetown University students did.
“Here, you can stand with us,” Georgetown freshman Taylor Kelleher said.
She and her friend, Teresa Montanero, also a freshman, had moved up to the fence to offer Allen security and solidarity.
As the three stood together, the students turned their backs to the All Lives Matter crowd and did not try to argue the politics of the moment.
Montanero wore a Bernie Sanders shirt to the ceremony, but the two women said they did not attend the inauguration for the sake of protesting.
“We thought we should be here whether or not we agree with it,” Kelleher said.
The two said they are concerned for Trump’s presidency because of what it might mean for them as queer women.
“Even walking here today, it still hasn’t settled in, but I think it’s important either way to be here,” Montanero said.
They said they weren't too concerned about their safety at the inauguration, but the threat of the future still weighed on them.
“I think we’re tense,” Montanero said. “As two queer people in a non-majority group, I think it’s uncomfortable.”
For more news from the inauguration follow Indiana Daily Student reporters Emily Ernsberger, Melanie Metzman, Matthew Rasnic, Lydia Gerike and Evan De Stephano on Twitter and @idsnews on Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.