Trump supporters antagonize Marin City community members during rally


(Ronan Grele)

By Emily Stull, Editor in Chief

Mikyla Williams contributed additional reporting.

A caravan of about 250-350 vehicles arrived in the Gateway Shopping Center in Marin City on Nov. 1 at 11 a.m. brandishing Blue Lives Matter, Trump 2020, and American flags to protest in favor of President Donald Trump’s re-election. The crowd remained in the area for about two hours and shouted chants in addition to reportedly shouting racial slurs at Black community members.

“Everybody in Marin County knows this is a minority neighborhood, a Black and brown neighborhood. So for [the Trump rally] to happen here makes us think ‘what are you doing?’” Marin City resident Geraob Ingraham said. 

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Marin City’s population is 45 percent Black, compared with the general residents of Marin County, which are 85 percent white.  

The caravan commenced in Santa Rosa, traveling southbound through cities such as Petaluma and Novato. In a FOX2 article, rally organizer Stacy Evans said the protestors originally stopped in Marin City to take bathroom breaks in the Target of Gateway Center, while there have been accounts from anonymous Trump supporters saying it was also meant for a place of protest. 

We had no idea that Marin City was predominantly Black when we stopped there. We have Black people in our group. We were all there in unity,” Evans stated in the article. 

When the protestors arrived in Marin City, according to Marin County Sheriff’s supervisor-on-scene Sgt. Josh Thaller, they were soon met with numerous counter-protesters repeating Black Lives Matter chants, “f**k Donald Trump,” as well as telling the Trump supporters to “Go home. You are not welcome here. Have a nice day.”

Jennifer Adams, who attended the protest to counter the Trump supporters, said she hesitated to believe her sister when she told her about the caravan. 

“I’m laughing like, ‘yeah right.’ I didn’t think [my sister] was serious, this would not be in Marin City,” Adams said. “We don’t tolerate it, we don’t want it here, and we’re perfectly fine. Marin City already gets a bad rap as it is, just because we are the only predominantly Black community in Marin County.”

“I’ve been here for 53 years, all my life, and I have never seen this before. Never,” Marin City resident Lenora Hayden said. “Me and everyone else came down because we love our community, and we believe in peace. [The Trump supporters] came here disturbing us. We don’t do that. We don’t go into their communities. We march in the streets.”

“[The] whole Trump rally out here was crazy. It was the first time I’ve ever experienced something like that,” Tamalpais High School senior Antoine Gardner said. 

Tam Wellness Coordinator Amber Allen-Pierson participated in the counter-protest. “I do feel like it was a very charged atmosphere. And I also feel like it was terrorism. That is what I’ve compared it to, because I felt the terror of the community. Not just in the young people who are my students, but when I looked in the faces of really little children,” she said. “I do believe that in terms of if we’re talking about terror as an emotion, and that’s what terrorizing is.”

“They were being loud, honking horns, yelling pro-Trump slogans. But members of the community came down to be anti-Trump and voice their opinions against Trump,” Thaller said. 

There were accounts and videos of the protestors in the vehicles verbally harassing members of the Black community, using racial slurs such as the N-word. 

“I was just wondering the whole time, ‘how can people be so against someone because of the color of their skin or where they come from,’” Gardner said. 

According to Adams, some Marin City residents, uninvolved in the protests, were harassed by Trump supporters while trying to get into Target. 

“They’re not protesting to protest, they’re protesting to antagonize. They’re protesting to get a negative response. They probably wanted a bigger reaction than what they got,” Adams said.  

In a report by the San Francisco Chronicle, retired Cotati City Council member George Barich referred to the protest as intended to be “a peaceful car cruise which started in Santa Rosa.”

“Like all our cruises and freeway overpass events they are designed to give encouragement to Trump voters everywhere and to share love,” he said to the Chronicle.

The report also indicated that many Trump supporters involved in the “car cruise” deny having used racial slurs or verbal harassment. 

“We just wanted to spread Trump’s message and support for his presidency in all neighborhoods,” an anonymous male protester said to The Tam News. “They’re all getting mad and hating on us when they do the same thing with their message with the riots and tearing down everything,” he added.

Counter-protestors hold Black Lives Matter signs toward the Trump supporters. (Amelia Sandgren)

There were reports of both parties throwing eggs and other items at members on the opposite side. However, no official reports have been filed with the police alleging physical aggression. 

“It was primarily a verbal argument, there was a little pushing and shoving and egg-throwing,” Thaller said. 

Marin City resident Shawanna Blakemore asked Taller why the police did not take action in regards to the “verbal arguments” and why they had “just let the Ku Klux Klan in [Marin City].” Thaller responded, “I’m not sure what you expect us to do without violating their First Amendment right. There is no law saying that I have the ability to stop [the Trump supporters] from coming in here and protesting.”

Allen-Pierson, who has experience organizing protests, said she “believes in the First Amendment. But I think that there are safe ways to [use it], and I don’t think that it was utilized safely [in this event].”

“I never want to give police credit as a system, just in general,” she said. “But I think, on that day, the police did their job—like nobody was hurt, they directed traffic. But I do not feel like if things had escalated, they would have protected the people of my own city. And that’s a problem.”

“I feel like [the police] handled this situation very poorly,” Blakemore said. “I felt like if something went wrong, [the police] wouldn’t have done anything about it. And it shouldn’t be that way.”

Ingraham described the acts of the Trump supporters as “insensitive.” “By now people know that we are in polarizing times, and there have been numerous acts of violence against our community.”

“You think [Trump] is the first racist president? No. And he won’t be the last. He’s just the first one who’s shown his natural colors. I feel like he’s opened the door for a lot of other people to show their natural colors,” Adams said. 

Adams has hope for the presidential election, which former Vice President Joseph Biden has won, in that it will encourage unity among people, and put an end to the acts of violence against marginalized communities nationwide.