Editor’s note: We sent Marc Monaghan to photograph Donald Trump supporters at Friday night’s rally at UIC. Marc came back with the following photo essay, as well as notes on those he encountered.
Outside the UIC Pavilion, the line of people waiting to get in stretched north along Racine and then east onto Congress. The attendees were predominantly men and mostly white, though many were not. Some people grouped together by race and ethnicity, others did not. Lots of anti-Trump protesters stood in the line carrying signs. A dark-skinned woman walked by, yelling “KKK out of Chicago.” A group of older white guys laughed at her.
I approached some people standing in line.
“Hello,” I said. “May I take your photograph?” Silence, then heads shook no. Husbands looked at their wives; a few people turned their backs to me. Finally a twentysomething man said, “Sure, I’ll do it.” Then more agreed.
Most said “no thanks” when I asked to take their picture; a woman thanked me for asking and then said no. Younger Trump supporters were more willing to have their picture taken, but they wanted group photos.
One young Trump supporter snatched a Confederate-flag-emblazoned hat off the head of his friend before I took their picture. Another Trump supporter said, “You can’t take my picture, I work in a school district.”
A few times, anti-Trump protesters attempted to photo-bomb the pictures I was making; one tried to block the camera so I couldn’t take the photo at all.
Alongside the parking structure between Congress and Harrison I saw Bill Ayers in conversation with some Trump supporters. Ayers, a retired UIC professor and a cofounder of the radical left-wing Weather Underground movement in the 60s, saw me, waved a piece of paper, and said, “Hey, I got a ticket to the rally.” He was wearing a Black Lives Matter T-shirt.
The line turned west on Harrison and then looped back east to avoid the protesters who’d stopped traffic at Racine and Harrison. I made a few more portraits and then walked across the street to the protest.
It was a different world: The line of protesters was filled with Latinos and Latinas, young black men, queer black women, women in hijabs, bushy-haired white progressives, and some young white men and women too. Many rode bicycles, or wore Black Lives Matter T-shirts, or carried Bernie signs or signs depicting Trump as Hitler. They chanted, “Who are the people? We are the people,” and “Mike check, mike check.” This was a younger world, and full of energy. It seemed to lean forward, ready to move.