Black Trump supporters traveled from near and far to D.C. last weekend to attend the Mother of All Rallies (MOAR), hoping to show a different face of citizens they feel have been unfairly demonized.
Coming in the wake of last month’s tragic events in Charlottesville, Va., the pro-Trump rally kicked off Saturday, Sept. 16 on the National Mall with much hype and apprehension of what would come out of it.
Allan Conner, 55, drove up from Atlanta to make sure what happened to Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, Va., on Aug. 12 didn’t occur again.
“I came because I thought it was going to be some KKK and skinheads preaching hate, so I came to counterprotest that, but it doesn’t seem like it’s about that,” Connor said. “It’s more about unity and I’m OK with that.
“I decided to counterprotest because of what happened in Charlottesville a couple weeks ago when that young lady got killed preaching against hate,” he said. “And I feel that her as a white woman she could just hide her views blend into the general society and that’s it, but she put her life on the line to fight against hate. So I said, me being an African-American, it is my duty to come out and protest.”
Conner asserted that the attendees and organizers of MOAR have denounced the KKK and white supremacy, but are rightly protesting on pivotal issues in the U.S. such as immigration.
“Some of the things they say I don’t agree with, but as far as controlling immigration, I agree with that, and I’m not racist because half my family are immigrants from Panama and the Grand Cayman Islands, so you got to do things right,” he said. “Even my wife is from Panama and my kids speak Spanish, but it’s about doing things right.”
Conner stressed that what anti-Trump supporters and most notably Democrats don’t get is the reality of what’s at stake in America.
“They want to live in a fairytale world where everything is politically correct,” he said. “Now Trump isn’t perfect and there are a lot of things I don’t like about him. I could even call the man an idiot, but he’s blunt and he’s going to put it out there. He’s not worried about political correctness. Sometimes I feel you need it raw.
“The people against Trump got to look in their own backyard first,” Connor said. “Do you know out of the 100 senators and their chiefs of staff … why is it five white Republican males have African-Americans as their chief of staff but none of the 48 Democrat senators have one except the Black one from California?
“Democrats have a way of preaching but not delivering on what they’re preaching on,” he said. “Trump isn’t perfect, but I like his bluntness and that’s why I’m with him.”
Jordan Davis, 25, of Berkeley, California, flew to Washington not only in support of the president, but of the Constitution, American and Western values and the “America first” message.
“Patriotism is important for any country, because it emphasizes national identity which is important to have,” he said. “Like, for instance, Trump withdrawing us from the Paris Accord deal, I think that’s great because that’s the ‘America first’ message right there being played out on the spot.
“The whole plan was just to redistribute our wealth to other countries where as we could be redistributing that wealth to all Americans that are in need,” Davis said. “That is also the essence of patriotism.”
As for those in limbo since President Trump rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program — launched by Barack Obama to protect young immigrants brought to the country by their parents — Davis said the program participants, known as “Dreamers,” should leave.
“I was disappointed at first that DACA couldn’t be thrown out of the window on the spot,” he said. “But after looking more and more into it, I got a change of heart, because you have to work with people you don’t like and you have to be flexible with giving Congress a certain amount of time.”
For those Dreamers serving in the military, Davis thinks they should absolutely come aboard, but “through the legal process.”
“I’m just simply against people trespassing,” he said. “You wouldn’t want me coming into your house because I had a hard life. It’s the same principle.”
Liz Matory, a D.C. native and graduate of Howard University Law School, said that she was actually afraid of attending MOAR because of antifa, a militant political movement on the left.
“We’ve been planning this for awhile and we didn’t know if people were going to come down and counterprotest, but I’m glad I came,” she said. “I think the crowds would’ve been bigger if it wasn’t for the threat of violence, but I came down here to unify. It’s very hard being a Trump supporter, a Republican and a person of color who has free thought in the United States.”
Matory, who was a candidate in the 2016 Maryland’s Congressional 8th District race, said she feels unfairly characterized.
“Number one, we’re defined by the media,” she said. “I left the Democratic Party in 2014, when I was working for them in the Maryland governor’s race. I saw firsthand how much the Democratic Party doesn’t care about the average citizen and average voter. They only care about staying in power.”
Matory hopes that women who identify with her can feel represented in the American political discourse.
“I became an independent for six months when I was running for Congress, then a Republican when I learned what the Republican Party was,” she said. “African-Americans initially were Republicans, only our grandparents were the ones that switched out of the party.
“You have to remind people that the time when [African-Americans] were the most prolific and empowered was when we lived by our conservative principles,” she said.