Here’s What Happens When a Republican Carries an American Flag Into Downtown Portland

Xander Almeida is a Republican, but he arrived in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

Xander Almeida. (Ben Z. Mund)

WW presents "Distant Voices," a daily video interview for the era of social distancing. Our reporters are asking Portlanders what they're doing during quarantine.

When an American flag turns up at a Portland protest, chances are it's being waved by a Trumpist or it's about to be burned.

Xander Almeida set out to be the exception to that rule.

Half a dozen times in the past month, Almeida carried the Stars and Stripes to the federal courthouse in downtown Portland. He's a Republican, but he arrived in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, seeking to reclaim the flag and his party from extremists.

Almeida, 35, who is Mexican American, says he wanted to recover the nation's banner from being used as "a symbol of hate" and to show that not all Republicans assent to deploying federal police to quell civil disobedience.

He was shocked into action by the police beating of Christopher David, a U.S. Navy veteran.

"Having this guy just get beat to hell by the feds," Almeida says, "I couldn't just stand idly by anymore."

In this interview with WW News Editor Aaron Mesh, Almeida describes the reception he received when he carried the American flag into downtown Portland.

Willamette Week’s reporting has concrete impacts that change laws, force action from civic leaders, and drive compromised politicians from public office. Support WW's journalism today.