My Semester In D.C. – ‘We The People Are Greater Than Fear’

February 7, 2017

By Melissa Rohman

While I’m living it up on the east coast in our nation’s capitol for my last semester of undergrad, I’ve made a promise to myself to take advantage of all the opportunities, events and resources that are here in D.C.

As an aspiring journalist and writer, I’ve been making sure to not only go to events but also read up on them. It’s funny because ever since I’ve been in D.C., I’ve been having intense withdrawal from not having the Tribune readily available in print everywhere I turn. Because yes, I still do like to read actual newspapers. The Washington Post has been a good second, in my opinion, and we’ve developed a nice relationship over these past couple of weeks while I’ve been out here in D.C.

I bring this up because of the first copy of the The Post I read when I got to D.C. It happened to be the issue that came out on the day of the 45 Presidential Inauguration. A historic and interesting day it was indeed, and the moment I got off the Metro to go and observe the inauguration, I bought a copy of The Post for $4 and a Women’s March on Washington shirt for $20 to wear the next day.

On the cover of The Post, the one and only Donald Trump but what struck me most was the back cover. On the back was a huge graphic of a woman in an American flag hijab. The top of it said “We the People” and the bottom said “Are Greater than Fear”. 

Protestors have held this graphic, as well as a few other ones featuring Americans from different backgrounds but with the same text and color scheme, across D.C. Eight years after artist Shepard Fairey created the red, white and blue “HOPE” poster, progressives and many others not happy with the current state of our country now have a new poster child. A few in fact, including an African American boy with a full head of hair, a Native American woman raising her fist, a Muslim woman wearing a red-white-and-blue hijab and a Latina women gracing a red flower in her hair.

Jessica Sabogal, a Colombian-American muralist involved in the “We the People” campaign, joined Fairey and artist Ernesto Yerena through the Amplifier Foundation to make these colorful and powerful posters that were distributed during the presidential inauguration. Whether we want to admit it or not, this election and our current political atmosphere is more than just about politics. For many, it’s personal.  

The beautiful picture of the woman wearing the American flag hijab is taped on my wall in my room here in D.C. Everyday I look at it and it reminds me of how strong my best friends are being right now. They are these posters. They are Muslim, Latina, African American and they are women. Their lives, families and futures are being jeopardized by what is happening in the city I am living in. It’s a strong reminder to me that politics and ethics are not mutually exclusive. I dare you to ask yourself how you would feel if you were not allowed to see your family due to the religion that you preach or the country that you and your family come from? Yeah, this is personal. 

rohmmeli@my.dom.edu