"I'm glad to see all these people standing together against racism," said Paloma Martinez, a 16-year-old City High School junior. "I feel like I'm part of something big."

Paloma Martinez went on a mission, with a purpose: protest President Trump and his policies.

The 16-year-old high school junior traveled with her mother and several friends to Phoenix Tuesday to join thousands of others at the Phoenix Convention Center where Trump appeared in a campaign rally attended by thousands of his supporters.

And while the City High School student was just one in the massive crowd that filled Phoenix's downtown streets surrounding the center, in the late afternoon when the temperature was 107 degrees, the soft-spoken Martinez said her presence still mattered.

"I'm glad to see all these people standing together against racism," she said. "I feel like I'm part of something big."

Martinez, who enjoys cooking and listening to hip hop and The Beatles, said before the rally that she felt compelled to attend, "to stand up for my community and my people, and stand against what he (Trump) stands for."

Trump's appearance in Phoenix was his first since he took office in January and his first since Charlottesvile, Virginia, where Nazi and white supremacist Trump supporters clashed with anti-racist protestors. The weekend disturbance left a woman dead when a man drove his car into a crowd of protestors.

At the Phoenix rally, which was boisterous but peaceful, there were no clashes between protestors and Trump supporters but after the president's talk, when most protestors had left the rally, police fired smoke canisters, pepper spray and flash bangs at a few remaining protestors. Police said some protestors threw rocks and bottles at police near the Herberger Theater Center at Third and Monroe streets.

At the rally, a wide cross-section of Arizonans were present. Many carried signs denouncing Trump and the white nationalists movement that the President was slow to criticize after Charlottesville. Many protestors were also clearly in opposition to the possibility that Trump would pardon former Maricopa Sheriff Joe Arpaio who recently was found guilty for ignoring a judge's order to cease racial profiling of Latino residents. While Trump did not announce Arpaio's pardon, during his speech he hinted that he would.

The Tuesday rally was not Martinez's first large demonstration that she has attended. She attended the large Jan. 21 Women's March in downtown Tucson the day after Trump's inauguration. She said she will continue to be active in opposing the president's polices on the environment, women, minority rights and attacks on individuals' sexual preferences. Martinez said a president should be able to see all sides.

"I hope he hears us," she said. "He's pretending we don't exist."

Contact Ernesto Portillo Jr. at netopjr@tucson.com or at 520-573-4187.