Disclaimer: The only side I’m taking is mine…
I’m Atlanta born and raised, while I’ve grown up in the south my entire life it was a bit of a shock to be in a room of hundreds of people and be the only person who looked like me (besides a couple secret service and videographers).
As a journalist covering these rallies I was extremely excited to be the public’s source, capturing these historical moments. It’s not every day or every year you get to cover presidential candidate visits.
Donald J. Trump visited Wilmington, NC in August. He gave a speech at the University of North Carolina Wilmington in the Trask Coliseum.
My colleagues and I arrived at the venue and the line of people waiting outside could have wrapped around the building. Thousands of people came to show support for their candidate, but as we walked towards the entrance I realized I was alone.
That alone feeling I felt outside of the building was fueled by glares and stares inside the building. Everyone I passed on the way to the media pit had eyes that said “what is she doing here?”
This is the video I got of Trump entering Trask Coliseum in Wilmington, NC. The video has gotten more than 40,000 views on Facebook.
My job was to get video and Facebook Live the event. So I started upstairs getting footage of the crowd waiting for Trump.
The line “oh, she’s with media” was repeated as I walked in front of the crowd.
After receiving what seemed like my right of passage I continued doing my job. Most people waved at my camera, showed off their t-shirt or handmade signs as they sat in the bleachers. I recorded it live on Facebook.
The crowed began to thicken through the walkways of the stands, as I recorded. I walked along with the crowd traffic until I was physically pushed in the back by a man implying me to walk faster.
I stopped my video and let him pass. He looked at me and continued walking.
As I’m standing out of the way, a few seconds later, another man then shoved his shoulder into mine to get me out the way so he could pass.
The double whammy yielded no verbal words, but the inconspicuous push and shove spoke loud and clear to me. It was time for me to go back downstairs.
While some would say it wasn’t a big deal. But for me it was a mental sensation I will never forget. I felt unsafe, unwelcome. While majority of the the crowd paid no attention to me or was too excited getting pumped up for Trump, these two men showed me an impolite reality.
I covered every presidential rally after that. Tim Kaine came later that month, Mike Pence came to Wilmington twice and Bill Clinton came in October.
While I didn’t experience anything at that physical magnitude again, it was always awkward walking through the crowds of Trump-Pence rallies and having no one to relate to. The racial divide of the opposite political parties was blatant and apparent here.
As I type this, Trump has scheduled another visit in Wilmington on Saturday. I will be there, covering the event, along with a few hundred people. This will be his last visit to Wilmington before election day and he could possibly be our next president.