It isn’t always simple to find ways to make changes to certain problems. Especially when it comes to the government. Feeling subjected and helpless to the people in power is completely natural, particularly now. I really have been feeling that a lot lately. It’s difficult to have a say against these discriminatory policies when I live in such a conservative place. So, when my mom discovered an opportunity to participate in a rally in the name of solidarity, we jumped at the chance.

The Point of the Rally

The rally was organized in a direct response to Donald Trump’s Muslim Ban. It basically was a way to show that the United States should be a place to harbor diversity and acceptance for our differences. Not hatred or fear. It accentuated the ideology that we could all be allies with one another, no matter our race or faith.

Going to the Rally

On the day we left, my sister, mom, and I spent the morning cutting and writing with Sharpie and glitter glue on cardboard to make signs to hold at the rally. We each wrote something that we felt needed to be heard. I wrote on mine, “With Liberty and Justice FOR ALL.” I thought that was appropriate for the whole tone of the rally because it’s becoming increasingly obvious that our current government only favors a certain group of people. My sign was totally outdone by my mom, though, as shown below.

 

 

We drove an hour to get to St. Joe’s city hall from home. When we arrived, we were greeted warmly by a small crowd of people. Everyone was very compassionate and respectful. I think we all felt really reassured by one another’s company. It was very encouraging to be around those who shared similar values to us since we live in such a conservative state.

We listened to a few speakers, most of them Christian pastors. I suppose it may not be necessarily ideal that they were mostly white and Christian, because it was supposed to be about diversity and standing up for those who aren’t privileged and don’t have a voice because of Donald Trump. They really put a lot of emphasis on teachings of the Bible, and not the Quran as much. However, the pastors were very focused on talking about diversity and accepting one another, and that there were people who would not discriminate against them and would treat them equally, even in Missouri. I don’t think it’s necessarily my place to decide whether the speakers were really qualified to talk in that position – I’m not a Muslim immigrant.

After that, we lined up on the main road next to the City Hall, holding up our signs. We chanted uplifting verses, like “No hate, no fear! Immigrants are welcome here!” From other cars passing by, sometimes we would get huge emphatic thumbs-up and honks. Other times, we’d get the stink-eye. Either way, it admittedly felt pretty invigorating that our voices were being heard. Eventually, the three of us left, changed.

Was it worth it?

Sure, it was a small gathering. A very tiny rally, especially in comparison to the notable rallies and marches across the world. It wasn’t filled with excitement or rebellion. But it was uplifting to be surrounded by so many kindhearted people who knew that diversity and equality are what make America great, not dangerous or inferior. Seeing others as unequal or threatening for things they cannot help is what has currently been causing the rifts between people. We should embrace what makes us different. Taking this opportunity to stand up for the right to remain different is something I know I won’t forget.

I hope that this worldwide discomfort with these proposed policies will spark a change in our government. I know our country won’t be the same after this presidency. There are many questions that remain unanswered, but I have confidence that things will change for the better after this. And when they do change, I can say that my mother, sister and I contributed to the cause.

So yes, it was worth it. I couldn’t have asked for more.