I spent some time in Washington, D.C., doing some internships and completing my law degree as a visiting student at Howard University School of Law.

I was involved in, and witnessed, a number of marches and protests in the aftermath of President Trump’s election, and felt the air weigh heavily with fear and angst. Those same feelings have rippled throughout the country and resonate here in Maine.

Many Mainers are fearful that they will lose their health care; many women feel that their privacy and their bodies are being violated by a Republican-controlled Congress with a clear anti-choice agenda; and people of color, immigrants and refugees are uncertain and unsure about the place they have and how they will be treated in Trump’s America.

People have asked me repeatedly what it was like being down there, and people do have a reason to worry. But here’s the caveat.

True resistance goes beyond the fear and anger, beyond marches and protests and staging walkouts and shoutouts.

Martin Luther King Jr. exemplified this. He not only marched and protested, but also engaged with the president and government officials to achieve policy goals.

At the end of the day, real change happens when people sit down at the same table and have the conversations crucial to achieving mutual respect and understanding.

Protest plays a large role in making your voice heard. It upsets the status quo. But the next step is to engage policymakers and engage in meaningful dialogue to ensure that concerns are addressed and problems are solved.

Marpheen Chann

Portland