For the past six years, homeless resident Russell Raymond Wood Jr. has stood on the corners of Orangewood Avenue and Harbor Boulevard in Anaheim holding up political signs. In the old days, it was seeking justice for Kelly Thomas, or a “Fuck APD” sign in honor of Manuel Diaz, an unarmed man whose death by Anaheim cops in 2012 sparked riots.
But in the past year, Wood has stuck to one sign: a large yellow piece of cardboard paper decorated with OC Weekly covers and the hashtag #fucktrump, with the “u” replaced with a middle finger.
Wood began holding the sign when Trump announced his presidential run, and says what inspires him to is the President-elect’s “big mouth..That man’s got more mouth than the Lake Okeechobee. That mother flower’s got more swamp-mouth than a whole damn swamp full of alligators put together, and then some. He’s a bad person.”
“There’s the case of the Trump University where he ripped off the college students with the bogus college,” Wood continues. “He walked behind Hillary Clinton like he’s stalking her. He’s admitted to grabbing women’s pussies.”
Then he got a serious look. “Pussy grabs back, and it’s grabbing back now.”
Wood’s signs are always handmade, featuring a mixture of collage, stickers, hashtags, and drawings. He got the inspiration after the beating death of Thomas. “I met him, he was just looking around the parking lot looking for a cigarette,” he said. “He wasn’t doing anything wrong”
He got involved in the many Fullerton protests on Thomas’ behalf, and he’s been at it ever since. Wood claims he even put his #fucktrump sign in the face of Trump when his motorcade weaved its way toward the Anaheim Convention Center on May 25 of last year.
“When they came by, I just kinda leaned over and put it in his window,” Wood says. “He had a dirty look on his face all scrunched up like he smelled something bad or something. And I go, ‘Good, motherfucker, I’m glad you seen it.'”
The 58-year-old grew up on the East Coast before arriving in Anaheim in the early 1980s. He hopped around the county, working odd jobs until getting hit by a car in 2006. A year later, he spent a couple of days in jail after a fight in which he says he was falsely accused of assault with a deadly weapon. Upon release, the impound fees on his motor home rendered him homeless, which he has been ever since.
“I stay in Anaheim, and if I get enough money, I get a motel room,” Wood says, getting by off his “Homeless Please Help” sign when he isn’t busy protesting.
Wood has largely escaped harassment for his corner activism. Besides the occasional “flip-offs,” Anaheim police “harass the hell out of me” ever since he held up “Fuck A.P.D.” signs. Trump supporters have tried to beat him up, but he likes to tell the tale of the time a Trumpbro offered him $20 if he held a “FUCK HILLARY” sign instead. He refused.
“I go, ‘You’re going to get your ass kicked if you don’t leave, dude, and it ain’t going to be by me,” he said. “And by the time I got that word out of my mouth, some little Honda pulled over, and this big-ass Samoan-looking dude jumps out of the car and goes, ‘Hey motherfucker, you better leave my little friend alone. You better take your sign and get out of here before I shove it up your ass,’ and I look at the dude and say, ‘See, that was quick.'”
Wood gives a solemn answer when asked about Trump’s victory, stating “I just feel sorry for all the people he’s going to affect…Most people look at homeless people the way Donald Trump looks at most people that are middle class or poor. ‘He looks at you like you’re a gutter rat, or you’re dirt on his fingernails.”
You can show support for Wood by handing him anti-Trump paraphernalia, stickers, or even just some money for food. Wood ultimately hopes to make his way off the corners and into a home and job for good—but in the meanwhile, he’s “on a mission from God,” as he puts it, to protest Trump,
“People are scared, I’m trying to put hope where there’s fear.” he says. “What I’m doing, holding my signs up, is a public service to my community and my neighbors.”