A Real-Life Look at the Boston Free Speech Counter Protest

Author: Nicole Chininis, Current Events/Politics

On August 19th, 2017, I gathered with about 40,000 other people on the Boston Common to fight against hate.

The events in Charlottesville bothered me, and many others, to my core. I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to sit back and let whatever “free speech” rally happen in my city. I had to go and stand up for what I knew to be right, and stand beside the marginalized communities who are directly targeted by these hateful organizations.

I don’t think anyone knew what to expect from this protest. On Facebook, there were two main event pages for counter protest, estimating about 6,000 people total. When we all got there, we gathered with a large group of people near the gazebo in the Commons, which is where the Free Speech rally was supposed to take place. There was a large divide between both groups, police on bikes, and more police surrounding the Gazebo. Some were Trump supporters, and were either wearing a hat or carrying banners, that would purposefully walk through the crowds to get people riled up. It worked. People would respond by chanting “SHAME” or “Black Lives Matter.”

Police escorted those gathering to rally around “free speech” through the crowd, and on the opposite side of the fence, which was dividing the Free Speech Rally and the counter protesters. Everyone around us kept on wondering when the “real rally,” filled with the possibility of “free speech” statements about white supremacy, was going to start, due to the small amount of people who were there, but it never took place due to small attendance.

But boy, did the city of Boston show up. I was incredibly motivated and inspired, as I gathered with 40,000 other people who were standing against hate. I shouldn’t have expected anything less. After attending the Women’s March in Boston earlier in the year, I knew that my city was capable of coming out to do what’s right. And it gave me hope for the entire country.

One positive was that the overall mood amongst the counter protesters was peaceful and united. Many of us were talking with each other about what this week’s past events meant for us and for the country. One thing was common: the majority of us were (and still are) filled with genuine concern about where this leaves us as a country.

If anything, I think that the number of people who showed up to peacefully take a stand against hate shows what our country can be. We have the capabilities of doing what’s right and moving in the right direction, but we still have a long way to go. However, if we continue to stand up like Boston did, I have no doubt that we can take leaps and bounds to creating a stronger and more peaceful nation.


Disclaimer: The political views presented in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Not Another Millennial Blog.

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