November 12, 2016

This is what made me Feel the Most Hopeful I’ve felt all Year.

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I am a Jewish woman.

When I was in college I protested the Vietnam War. The FBI called my parents to inform me that I’d earned an FBI file. It dawned on me that it was the FBI who had been yelling out my name and photographed me with a small camera and blinding me so I couldn’t see the cowards running away. Those were the days of Nixon’s dirty tricks on the University of Illinois campus, as well as other campuses across the country.

When I saw Trump’s speech asking for all the non-Christians to raise their hands, and then ask the crowd if the non-Christians should be booted out of the room, I had a terrible feeling. The hair on the back of my neck stood up. I had a genetic response.

Since the presidential debates, I’d been suffering from PTSD. President-elect Trump reminded me of a couple of ex-boyfriends who were verbally abusive, gaslighters and cheaters. I’d been crying off and on for days, and feeling like I wanted to vomit, but couldn’t.

When the election results were announced, I got really sick and extremely depressed.

The only time I felt hopeful was driving past the Fairview High school kids who’d walked out of school in protest the day after the election.

I honked.

They cheered.

I cried.

Yesterday I just had to go to the Pearl Street Mall to the protest. I wanted to see who would be there, and to be with people who shared my beliefs.

I took the bus and met others on the way to the protest. One was a man about my age who was going to photograph the event. Three were CU students—a young black man with two white women. One woman was almost in tears because of her fear that Roe v. Wade might be overturned. I told her that she had a right to be afraid, and that I helped fight for the rights given under Roe vs. Wade in the 1970s. They thanked me.

The protest was on the old courthouse lawn. I arrived early. People came from every direction, in groups and alone. There were high school students, college students, people with obvious disabilities, people from the LGBT community, couples, young families with babies and toddlers, mothers with grade school kids, and people my age. I met new people and saw a long-time friend.

Everyone had come together for a common purpose. It seemed as though there were 200-300 people.  One person estimated that there were as many as 500 people. When I was walking back to the bus, more and more people were going to the courthouse. A group of about 20 students with signs were marching and chanting, “He’s not my president” on their way to the protest.

It was peaceful, respectful and had no visible police presence. The speakers were young people who were afraid of what is going to happen now. They were gay, straight, Latino, young men, young women—they all had a story of why we need to stand together.

I left feeling hopeful for the first time since I protested the GOP debate on the CU campus last year. I had a dreaded fear that the reality TV star would be our next president, and sometimes I really, really hate being right.


Author: Roz Dorf

Image: video still

Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock

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Roz Dorf