Encountering the MAGA Group

Currently, my documentation of the protests in the wake of George Floyd’s murder has not been complete. I have excellent documentation of the protesters and a fair selection of the police. But finding the conservative counter-protesters has been a real challenge.

They have their own social & news media universe that’s hard to penetrate if you aren’t in the know. Which is a major reason why we are where we are. When I was waiting for Trump to arrive in Kenosha somehow the MAGA group knew exactly where he would be despite me asking around constantly. Apparently the details were only on Fox News and other approved outlets. 

(Several of these images have an icon on the lower right. Click it to get additional context to the image!)

I’m glad I got the chance to find Trump-supporters because they aren’t super common in Milwaukee. When I walking downtown to get some food before the protests I ran into the woman in the 2nd photo on the top row, in full MAGA gear. She gave me a curious look and I nodded in return. 

Interactions between the groups were pretty emotional. A lot of shouting and sign waving but few real altercations. I did see a video of a brief fight that broke out and saw the end result of a woman having water thrown on her (3rd photo above). Signs were slapped and spit was flung but for the most part, people didn’t get too serious with their disagreements. 

Whenever “Black Lives Matter” was said, “All Lives Matter” was the counter-phrase. However, some real discussions were had and common ground was found as well. The passionate man in these images was especially impressive. He repeatedly broke down why “All Lives Matter” was disrespectful and had 1-on-1 dialogues with several Trump supporters that seemed to reach some of them.

I was fortunate enough to be able to speak to a few as well. I only had time to talk to a couple because there was so much going on and I didn’t want to miss out. So I won’t go into it because I didn’t take notes and can’t really give a complete picture of people’s motivations. But it was educational for me and reminded me that listening to understand is another thing I can do to help bridge the divide.

I’ll be adding more images over the next few days as I pick out my favorites and continue to edit. But in the meantime, feel free to let me know which ones are your favorites! 

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