Four Days Later in New York as the Reality of President Trump Sinks In

Four Days Later in New York as the Reality of President Trump Sinks In

It is the first weekend since the news broke that America voted in Donald Trump as its next president, following a painfully long and controversial campaign.

The day after, Wednesday 9th November, I woke up to messages from friends expressing similar sentiments of humiliation and sadness. One friend, in particular, described her commute: “Manhattan this morning was like a ghost town. The same amount of people, but zombified”.

It was true. The morning, and well into the afternoon of that Wednesday, New York City was quiet. It was colder and darker than even the unseasonable weather of late. But the puffy eyes and red cheeks of many were not the results of the cold wind; instead, it was the obvious tears from a night of crying. The silence was not a big city getting on with its usual day. Everything was different.

After the initial shock and sadness of those first hours passed, a particular wave of kindness began to appear. The everyday things like somebody giving up their seat on the subway to someone with more baggage felt extra warming to see.

As the weekend nudged closer, the air of protest was still in the streets. New Yorkers and their well-known fire did not stay dim for long. The city – like it has proven before – is resilient. The protests started as soon as the result was in. Some took a moment to grieve. Others took time to themselves. But over the past few days, the crowds of protesters have grown, and are still growing. New Yorkers, like their allies in Chicago, San Francisco, and across the world, are not ready to accept that America will be defined by the bigotry and hate of Donald Trump.

On Saturday 12th of November, I joined the protesters at Union Square as they were beginning their march to Trump Tower. As I made my way into the crowd, a young girl gave me an anti-Trump sticker to wear. She was so young. I asked her, “How old are you?” She replied, “Eleven.” She was there with her whole family, including her mother, Milagros, from Staten Island. Milagros told me she was scared but had to do her part to “fight hate crime”. I asked her why she had decided to bring her whole family along. She replied, “This is for their future. I do not want them to live in a world where they think they are not welcome or loved.”

Milagros was not the only person to protest with her kids. People joined the crowds with their babies in strollers and their toddlers on their shoulders. It was beautifully peaceful. And despite the seriousness of what these people were fighting against, their strength, support, and positivity at that moment were undeniable.

I also spoke to Eric, a Jewish American from Manhattan. He said he had joined the crowd because he refuses to accept the “normalisation of the abnormal, the humanisation of the inhumane.” He also remarked that he thought Trump’s language was too reminiscent of the tone adopted by fascists of the past. He added, “I am Jewish. This type of language and tactic is far too similar to what Jews, my family, has seen and heard in the past.”

I was moved as the crowds chanted, “Not my President!”, “Black Lives Matter!”, “We are all immigrants!” And as I write this up, I can hear three girls sat next to me in a coffee shop discussing what has happened. One of them said, “Y’all studied history, right? It is like Trump’s checking off all the things you should look for before it all goes wrong”.

The shock is still here, but it is making way for conversation, for change. It is not just on social media. It is around every corner you turn. Every stranger you sit next to is talking, and the stranger sat next to them is listening. New Yorkers, and indeed the rest of the world, are not ready to stand by and let hate win.


Written by Michelle Houlston,

New York Junior Editor

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