At times it was difficult to sort out spectator from demonstrator on the crowded sidewalk, but there was no doubt about Hermes. He trailed protest co-organizer David Villalobos, the man with the megaphone, navigating a path between anti-Trump signs reading “Shame!” and “Immigrants Built This Country” and “Liar Liar Liar.”
The day, said Villalobos of the Texas Organizing Project, was “about voicing our displeasure at the hate being pushed by this administration, and to rally local communities to take part in issues that affect our everyday lives.”
Hermes, too, was looking to make a difference.
A Wisconsin native, his social activism was revived in recent years as anti-immigrant sentiment simmered. When his nephew, who is Korean by background, endured taunts at school about being deported, Hermes had had enough.
But it wasn’t until Trump announced his initial travel ban that Hermes realized the power of his voice, one he thinks was forged during his days teaching philosophy to 300-student classrooms at Florida State University.
“I guess I learned to project,” he said. He now teaches at the University of Texas-Arlington.
And suddenly another chant was underway — and Hermes was immediately transformed, back into yell mode and hungry for change.