A short video (below) of Johari Osayi Idusuyi reading a book during a Donald Trump rally on Nov. 9 in Springfield, Illinois, went viral after it was posted on Vine on Nov. 10.
"I'm not genuinely interested in him as a person, but as like a presidential candidate, if you have the opportunity, why not?" Idusuyi told WICS about her decision to attend Trump's rally (video below).
Idusuyi recalled that she and some friends arrived at the Prairie Capital Convention Center when the doors opened. They planned to sit near Trump, but were told by someone that the area was for VIPs. However, they were soon approached by a man who asked if they wanted to sit in that area.
"It wasn't like any type of conniving, we didn't sneak in there," Idusuyi told the news station. "It was just he asked us, probably for obvious reasons, but we went, we took the opportunity, and we sat and he told us to sit in the middle and we did."
However, Idusuyi said she lost interest in Trump's speech after she saw protesters being thrown out of the event.
"Probably a mix of educated and uneducated, everybody on the spectrum cheering for such ignorance and that's when I was just taken aback and that's when my energy had shifted," Idusuyi added.
That's when Johari started reading "Citizen," a book of poems by Claudia Rankine about racism in the U.S.
Johari claims her silent protest wasn't intentional.
"I came here, yes, to observe kind a man that I already had low expectations for, but I thought maybe he could change my mind," she said. "Maybe it was just a media thing and maybe I'm judging too fast based on what the media says. And I was wrong, I wasn't. He was exactly what I expected him to be and his supporters were exactly what I expected them to be."
In the viral video, a white older man taps her on the shoulder while she reads.
Johari told Jezebel about the incident:
I got tapped on the shoulder. I think it was a couple. The man, he was mad but not as mad as his maybe-spouse. He had a more calm demeanor, just like, if you don’t want to be here, leave. They both said it but hers was more from a place of genuine disgust and anger. I feel like he was a mouthpiece for her.
And he probably was kind of mad, but I don’t think he would have tapped me on the shoulder if it wasn’t for the woman. The woman kept saying, “If you don’t wanna be here then leave. You didn’t even stand for the Pledge of Allegiance."
Regarding her seat position, Johari told the news site: "I think we were chosen for obvious reasons. We are minorities and there weren’t a lot of minorities there. He also instructed us to sit in the middle, so we kind of already knew what this was."