Last month, Richmonder Tara Morand’s frustration with the current president spurred her into action with an unusual protest — walking from Richmond to Washington DC to show Trump her disapproving “mom face.”
The weekend before the Fourth of July, Tara Morand, a 49-year-old mother, musician, and nature explorer, set out to walk almost 120 miles. She was walking from her hometown of Richmond, VA to Washington DC; her pilgrimage — a symbolic act driven by her discontent with the Trump administration — took six days.
Hiking 15 miles a day, Morand kept herself motivated with the desire to show President Donald Trump her “mom face,” a face she said expresses not only discontent but also disappointment. It’s that face your mother gives you when you’ve taken things just a little too far.
“This is the time for us to all be looking at [Trump], saying, ‘This is not okay,’” Morand said. “[He] needs to be leading, not leaving us where we are today.”
Pres. Trump retweeted a video Sunday morning that begins with an apparent supporter shouting 'white power.' The retweet was deleted after 3 hours. The White House insists Trump did not hear the man shout 'white power,' even though it is the first audible statement in the video. pic.twitter.com/YgVLaOGoRh— NowThis (@nowthisnews) June 30, 2020
The final straw for Morand happened shortly before her journey. She said Trump sharing a tweet of a man yelling “white power” with a “Trump 2020” flag was extremely upsetting, as was learning that Trump was aware of the bounties that the Russians had put on heads of soldiers in Afghanistan, but wouldn’t do anything about it.
“This is insane,” Morand said. “Just every day, it’s something. There just was something that snapped in me and I’m like, ‘Okay, I’ve got to do something.’”
Morand said she walked from Richmond to Ashland, then Ashland to Ruther Glen, then from there to Thornburg, and then to Fredericksburg. She “confessed” that she didn’t walk the entire way, as a tropical storm was coming, so she took a train from Fredericksburg to Alexandria — a nerve-wracking experience for her in the midst of a pandemic, as some travelers weren’t practicing social distancing guidelines or wearing masks.
“I was like, ‘Oh, I don’t want to walk in the thunderstorm, you know, I walk but I’m not a martyr,’” Morand said. “I could really hurt myself at that point, and… I wasn’t really sure of the route.”
Expecting that she would do plenty of thinking on her 15-mile-a-day crusade, Morand said her journey mostly consisted of just trying to stay safe in unfamiliar surroundings, instead of having introspective moments. She said she was trying to dodge cars, not twist an ankle, and stay safe in areas that were known for being a little unsafe.
“All my senses were involved in the process of just looking at the path ahead and watching the cars, listening for Mack trucks,” Morand said. “It was all a physical process, which surprised me because I’m not only a talker, I’m a thinker.”
After her walking was finished for the day, Morand would stay in a hotel that she pre-booked in preparation for her journey. She ran into a couple of obstacles with her bookings, but luckily, Morand said, because of the coronavirus, she was still able to get rooms each night.
On her final trek of the journey, from Alexandria to D.C., Morand said she walked over the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge into the city, thinking she’d finally made it. This feeling of accomplishment was soon met with anger as she discovered the fence around the White House, which was built in response to the Black Lives Matter protests in D.C. Morand was disappointed to discover that the fence wasn’t only around the White House, but actually made up a two-block radius around it.
“You cannot see the White House,” Morand said. “I felt like I was lost. I’m like, ‘I have no idea, the map says it should be right here. Why can’t I see it?’ It was because Lafayette Park was fenced in. It’s a compound. And that made me so mad.”
Eventually, Morand met up with other protesters and got as close as she could to Trump to show him her “mom face.” But the fence put a definite damper on things.
She encourages other protesters to join the “mom face” movement she and some like-minded friends had started before she left on her expedition to DC. That movement continues now with a facebook group and plans for further action in the future. In her view, it’s important to keep the momentum up, to keep urging for positive change.
“Hopefully, we get the story out, and encourage anyone who feels like they’re at that point to share it, because there’s that energy,” Morand said. “I think maybe the one thing [Trump’s] never really seen is that we’re done, and we’ve had enough.”
Top Image via Morand’s “Mom Face” group on Facebook