I am an American living and studying in Edinburgh, Scotland. On January 30th 2017,  I marched for the first time in my life, with people from around the world who believe in love, not hate; inclusion, not discrimination; and choose compassion over fear. Yes, we marched in response to the actions of Donald Trump, but it was about more than protesting; it was about coming together to support each other.

More than 2000 marchers gathered in front of the Royal Scottish Academy located in the city center and at the foot of Edinburgh Castle. We marched down Princes Street, across Waverly Bridge, onto the Royal Mile, and down to the Scottish Parliament and the gates of Holyrood Palace.

We carried signs and chanted as we walked: “Hey. Ho. Donald Trump has got to go”, “Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here”, “No ban. No wall. Sanctuary for all”, “No ban. No KKK. No to fascist USA”, etc, ect… 

A few of the great signs from the evening: 

      

And a couple that made me chuckle in their absolute British approach: “This is Bad” and “I’m really not happy about this”

  

We were joined by drummers and bagpipers, and people leaned out their windows to wave and cheer as we passed. The police marched along with us, and weren’t threatening or intimidating, but supportive and friendly, smiling and helping redirect traffic and clear our path.

Marching with four of my classmates, we represented 5 countries: Me from America, Owen from England, Ariananda from Indonesia, Jeanette from Belgium, and Dimitra from Greece. Together we are Muslim, Christian and Atheist. Together we marched to form an alliance that says we will all look out for each other, no matter where we come from or what religion we follow. Together we will make the world a better place and we will fight hate.

This woman summed it best. So earnest and so on-point, she was waiting for us as we reached the end of the march.

Today I have renewed hope.