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Virginia woman says President Trump turned her into a professional (unpaid) protester

The woman behind the lit-up letters seen outside of the White House tells WUSA 9 why she started created them.
Credit: WUSA 9

RESTON, Va. — A Virginia woman says President Trump inspired her to become a professional and unpaid protester.  

Nan Dearborn uses the basement of her Reston home as a workshop. In that basement is where you'll find plenty of cardboard and batteries. Dearborn uses both to create the light-up letters we've seen outside of the White House during protests. 

Together, those letters have read messages like "Fearmonger" and "Vote Them Out." 

Dearborn tells WUSA 9 she's already created about 45 cardboard letters for these signs. They have battery-powered lights strung through them so you can see it at night.

More words spelled include "Treason" and "Protect Mueller."

Images of these light-up letters have been seen all across Twitter. They were even captured in a Times Magazine photo.

“Well it really happened when Trump was elected. I went to the first Women’s March with my daughter and I was just so energized and excited," Dearborn said. "It was an amazing once in a lifetime experience and I just kept doing what I could after that. So I was working at the federal government at that point so what I could do was limited."

The Virginia protester tells WUSA 9 her household had combined 22 years working for the Federal Government before she decided to retire from the U.S. Agency for International Development.

“Trump really did turn you into a professional protester?” WUSA9 asked.

“Totally,” responded Dearborn, “I don’t remember being at many protests before that one. And after that one, I’ve been to many protest.” She laughed at the “many protests” answer.  

A designer by trade, Dearborn came up with the letters as her way to contribute.

“It’s a voice,” she responded when asked what they mean to her.

“People from my group went every night for 15 days. We took different words. And went every night. The protest is every night,” said Dearborn. She uses the letters when she’s protesting with the group, Herndon Reston Indivisible. Their group also works with the Kremlin Annex, a group that purposefully makes noise outside of the White House … every night.

When asked about age, Dearborn says most of the protesters she sees are older. However, she believes the time and money spent doing this is translating to votes. She points to Jennifer Wexton winning Virginia’s 10th Congressional District race as an example.

We know what side she’s on, but Dearborn says she has the same message whether you’re Republican or Democrat.

“I would urge people to engage,” said Dearborn.

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