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Detroit photographer Garrett MacLean‘s project documenting the colorful and theatrical forms of protest in the age of Trump “came from a void, an unexpected absence.” 

“What was expected to be a huge and violent protest of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland never materialized. In the run-up to the July 2016 event, people speculated that tensions in the country would lead to a convention similar to ’68 in Chicago,” says MacLean, who has otherwise been working on a long-term project about Detroit. “But it seemed as if there were more journalists than protesters. So instead of finding confrontation or overflow, I found interesting individuals expressing their support and dissent.”

MacLean soon found himself at rallies for a range of causes, mostly around the Midwest and always seeking out some of the more interesting people. The result is his project “One Nation, Under Protest.”

Over the past year and a half, MacLean says the most compelling protest he shot took place in front of the White House the day after the Juggalo March on Washington and the Pro-Trump Mother of All Rallies gathered at either ends of the National Mall in mid-September 2017. 

“A transgender active-duty member of the US Army drove to DC alone to voice her disapproval of Trump’s ban on transgender people in the military. She asked to remain anonymous but allowed me to take her portrait, given the importance of the issue. At that moment, uncertainty surrounded Trump’s ban and how it would be enacted. She took the time—and possible risk—to stand up for an issue vital to her life.

Though his photos capture only a glimpse of the activism that has erupted in the streets over the last year, MacLean hopes the images help highlight the diversity of the people who take the time and energy to show up in support of causes important to them. 

“I created this series with the goal that it might encourage more people to become politically active by showing some of their fellow citizens who have already decided to do just that.”

Support Transgender Troops rally, White House, Washington, DC

Left: Slut Walk, Palmer Park, Detroit; Right: Mother of All Rallies, Washington, DC

Affordable Care Act support rally, Detroit

Anti-Iraqi deportation rally, downtown Detroit

Juggalo March, National Mall, Washington, DC

Republican National Convention protest, Cleveland, Ohio

Slut Walk, Detroit

Kid Rock protest, Detroit

Kid Rock protest, Detroit

Counterprotest to Westboro Baptist Church, Oak Hills High School, Cincinnati, Ohio

Anti-Iraqi deportation rally, downtown Detroit

Counterprotest to the Westboro Baptist Church, Oak Hills High school, Cincinnati, Ohio

Left: Slut Walk, Detroit; Right: Kid Rock protest, Detroit

Juggalo March, National Mall, Washington, DC

Mother of All Rallies, Washington, DC

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IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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