Riding the Red Line Train Downtown

“The Red Line Train to downtown Salt Lake will board in five minutes.”

My hands shake as I keep them folded in my lap. I balance a rented electric scooter with my feet precariously while waiting anxiously for the Trax to come. The station is empty. There aren’t even any cars driving by. Besides my labored breathing through my ‘Ie Lavalava wrapped tightly around the lower half of my face, the air is still and quiet. Recognizing the oncoming anxiety attack, I slow my breathing down. I count inside my head to ten and exhale on a five-count. The Twitter feeds that I follow said that there would be police on the Trax, trying to dissuade people from approaching the protests downtown.

Remain inconspicuous if possible. Don’t call attention to yourself.


Focusing on my breath and relaxing my shoulders, I manage to still my hands as the Red Line train finally arrives. The vertical blue and red split paint job reflects the lights of the station. Breathing out a long sigh, I gather my things and shuffle my way into the train car. I maneuver myself into one of the chairs on the inside of the car and sit down with a huff.

Glancing around, I take in the almost horror-movie-like emptiness of the train car. Typically, even during non-peak hours, there are one or two people spaced out in the cars. But today, an unholy combination of COVID-19 and the protests have left this car empty. Pulling my gloves up a little tighter, I glance out the window as the Salt Lake City landscape flies by. Small businesses and piles of trash speed past at a blistering pace as the train moves me closer to confrontation.

My eyes close and I ruminate on why I’m traveling on the Trax today.

George Floyd

Breonna Taylor

David McAtee

Natosha “Tony” McDade

Yassin Mohamed

Finan H. Berhe

Sean Reed

Steven Demarco Taylor

Ariane McCree

Terrance Franklin

Brandon Webber

Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal


As I think and mouth each name, my chest hurts from the waves of sorrow and grief that roll through my body. I have not known any of these people personally, but their stories resonate within me. Breonna Taylor, asleep in her bed when an illegal no-knock warrant cost the world her smile. Her murderers are still free to this day. George Floyd, a man murdered for a suspected counterfeit check. My body flinches as I recall his screams from the video that I saw. It was genuinely haunting, hearing his cries for his mother, and my heart shatters when I think of what his mother would be going through if she were alive to see her baby murdered like that.

“We are sorry for the inconvenience, but due to an ongoing situation downtown, the Red Line train will be stopping at the Central Pointe Station. I repeat: due to an ongoing situation downtown, the Red Line train will be stopping at the Central Pointe Station.”


A shudder runs down my back when I look outside towards the platform. A group of police officers stand together. I see that they are talking to each person as they get off the train, and a spike of fear and apprehension blazes through my stomach at the thought of passing through their group.


My palms are wet with sweat in my gloves. From my stomach, a rising heat of anxiety spreads throughout my body. That heat fills every nook and cranny, from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet.


I inhale a shuddering breath and grab my things. I maneuver down the steps; my heartbeat echoes in my ears, and I do my best to remain unobtrusive and unnoticeable. I shuffle past the policemen on the platform and keep my head down. I trust my ‘Ie Lavalava and sunglasses to help protect my anonymity.


My luck holds, and I make it to the platform’s end, quickly hopping onto the electric scooter. I start to accelerate, leaving the station behind as I head toward downtown.


Zooming up West Temple, the houses and apartment buildings blur together.


George Floyd

Breonna Taylor

David McAtee

Natosha “Tony” McDade

Yassin Mohamed

Finan H. Berhe

Sean Reed

Steven Demarco Taylor

Ariane McCree

Terrance Franklin

Brandon Webber