Why we wrote the essay about covering a Trump rally in Green Bay

It was a Tuesday afternoon, a few hours removed from the 3,000 Donald Trump supporters who taunted us with racist rhetoric while we were reporting on the rally. We’d just wanted to produce a good story. However, overwhelmed with emotion, we concluded that a personal narrative was necessary.

We spent several days writing. The connection we had to the rally’s events was personal. We weren’t writing a story, we were explaining an experience — one that resurrected childhood memories and reminded of us of future obstacles.

In the hours we spent reflecting, the difficulty was bridging two points of view. We found that the contrast in our perspectives made the experience unique so we chose to write the piece in alternating voices.

Our purpose was not to showcase racism. It was to expose the way in which Trump rallies unleashed the opportunity for some of his supporters to express r long-suppressed resentment of people of color. We saw Trump as the source of this opportunity and watched it ripple from the podium to the hands and mouths of supporters.


My challenge was talking about something I’ve never experienced: racism. This rally brought up a lot of emotions that I don’t think we often know how to vocalize as white people who care about racial equality. I felt shame, embarrassment and frustration. I’m still trying to understand which of those emotions I felt for myself and which I felt toward the crowd.

We need more white people to talk about this.


Two weeks later, the rally still has a strong hold in our memories. We realized the responsibility we have as journalists.

Racism didn’t start with Trump and won’t stop after Election Day. We go forward knowing the job that has to be done in reporting on racism to make a better America.