The Love Rally held on the Boston Common, just days after Trump was elected president, was one of the greatest outpourings of love and support I have ever seen. This is not my first rodeo, so to speak; I’ve been going to Pride parades, protests, and rallies for years now, especially in the last year and a half since I’ve been at college. What struck me the most was not the rally itself; while it was an amazing and affirming experience, it was not unique in its ideas. What truly amazed me were the people who came out that day to speak, sing, or simply cheer.
I got to the rally relatively late, so I missed a lot of the speakers, but not long after I joined the massive circle a girl with short ginger hair and a cane stood up in the center where the speakers were gathered and turned, slowly, to face the crowd around her. She was thirteen years old, barely (we all sang Happy Birthday to her, which made her tear up a bit). She spoke, very eloquently for her age, about her struggles: chronic physical illnesses, hence the cane, and mental illnesses as well, at such a young age. Her message was powerful: she felt invisible and derided for her conditions by a certain President-Elect, even though it was no fault of her own. She felt isolated at school, where pre-teens had already learned to spew their parents’ hateful rhetoric at people who were different than them. But most importantly, she felt uplifted by the gathering that evening on the Common, where people like and unlike cheered at her statements and applauded her bravery.
I was expecting the rally to be a collection of marginalized people, all incensed by the election and ready to support one another, but I didn’t expect so many of these people to be so young. Aside from the girl with the cane, there were multiple other speakers who were still in middle school or high school who were feeling the effects of the election as acutely as the adults in the circle. One little boy in a Pikachu hat sat on his mother’s shoulders and yelled “Love trumps hate!” into the megaphone, even though he couldn’t have been older than five.
Watching this community, an amalgamation of marginalized people who refuse to remain invisible, I felt a renewed sense of hope and pride at the world we live in. Children may be suffering now, but we are teaching them to stand up and scream that their lives matter and that they refuse to give up fighting for their rights and their dignity. I want my future children to know that I helped create a world where they can be safe and happy no matter who they are, and I want them to feel empowered to change the world for themselves, too. To the children and teens of the Boston area: I am so, so proud to see that you know you deserve better, and that you’re willing to fight until you get it.
featured image credit: Charlie Scanlan