The nearly 450 people who came to Wright Park in Tacoma on Saturday each had their own reasons.
But they were united in one: concern over the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States.
“America is great but Amerikkka is full of hate,” read a sign held by Georgia Horton, 58, of Tacoma.
“Everything Trump stands for is against my beliefs and morals,” Horton said.
The native of Greece became a citizen in 2008.
“I took my oath (of allegiance) seriously,” she said.
Horton said her 10-year-old grandson, who is black, came home from school concerned that Trump would reinstate slavery.
“I told him, ‘Yaya is not going to let anything happen to you,’ ” she said. “And I’m going to oppose the hate that this man brings to this country.”
Horton, a supporter of Black Lives Matter, is a frequent participant in demonstrations.
Angie and John Santiago of University of Place are not.
Saturday’s protest was the first the couple had ever attended.
Both were holding rainbow flags, the symbol of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
“Mike Pence is a major concern,” Angie, 47, said. Pence has advocated for conversion therapy and has been hostile to same-sex marriage and other gay rights.
The couple’s 17-year-old son identifies as gay, Angie said.
“Although Donald Trump is saying marriage equality will not be contested, we don’t trust him,” Angie said. “I don’t trust him about anything he says.”
Though Alma Perez, 23, of Tacoma, was born in the U.S., she’s concerned about the effect Trump’s policies might have on her family. She was holding a sign that read, “Here to Stay.”
The threat of deportation weighs heavily not only on those it affects, but their family members, she said. She is the only one in her family who has citizenship.
“We’re not going anywhere. This is our country as much as anyone else’s,” Perez said.
Standing next to Perez was Alberto Baena, 24, of Tacoma.
Baena said he works with youths at the University of Washington Tacoma and other local groups. He came to the protest to make his voice heard.
“We hear protesting is not going to make a difference,” Baena said. “That sends the message that, ‘We don’t care about you.’ ”
The majority of the signs in the crowd were homemade. Some were pointed: “Hate will not make us great,” and “We reject the president-elect.”
Others were humorous: “We will over-comb hate” and “America, this is why we can’t have nice things.”
One sign, “Disabled people aren’t jokes,” was held by Allan White, 42, of Tacoma.
White, who said he is autistic, was offended when candidate Trump mocked a disabled reporter.
“I saw red,” White recalled. “I was infuriated. That gesture was a slap in the face to every disabled person in the country.”
After the election, Tacoma resident Josh Chan, 31, was ready to accept Trump as president.
“I was going to give him a chance,” Chan said at the rally.
But Trump’s recent administration appointees have changed Chan’s mind. He feels that the incoming president is unconcerned about the rights of minorities.
“He’s going to allow others to pass anti-minority legislation,” Chan said.
Clover Park High School student Ana Munoz Velazquez, 17, spoke of unity at the protest.
“We are all here for the same reason: love,” Munoz Velazquez told the crowd.
Near the end of the speech, she revealed herself as undocumented.
“I’m proud to be an illegal immigrant,” she said.
When she finished, the crowd collected itself and marched up Division Avenue.
Tacoma police blocked traffic for the marchers, who did not inform the department of their plans beforehand, department spokeswoman Loretta Cool, said.
Several drivers and a transit bus were delayed as the chanting crowd marched by.
A small crowd at Frisko Freeze, waiting for burgers, watched the marchers go by.
Barber Mike Kutz stepped out of Flawless Cuts barber shop on Sixth Avenue to watch. He was impressed with the diversity of the crowd.
“I don’t dislike him,” Kutz said of Trump. But he’s concerned that the president-elect doesn’t care about minorities.
“They just want to feel supported by Trump,” Kutz said.
The group returned peacefully to Wright Park to continue the rally.
Trump himself has not taken kindly to protests.
Vice-president elect Mike Pence attended a performance Friday of the Broadway hit “Hamilton” in New York. There, Pence was greeted with boos and cheers. After the curtain call, the show’s performers read a statement to Pence, asking that he respect all people.
In a Tweet following the incident, Trump demanded the performers apologize to Pence.
On Thursday, President Barack Obama had a message for Trump about the protests: Get used to it.
“I’ve been the subject of protests during the course of my eight years,” Obama said.
Obama also had a message for the protesters themselves: “I wouldn’t advise them to be silent.”
One protester at Saturday’s rally in Tacoma took the president at his word.
His sign read, “Obama Help.”