On a gorgeous Monday evening outside of the White House earlier this month, Ann Dagrin’s and Radiya Buchanan’s eyes were watering and their throats were burning. It wasn’t until the next day that they learned why: Donald Trump had ordered tear gas and flash grenades be used to disperse the peaceful protest they were participating in. Once they found out that the shellacking had been ordered up simply so the commander in chief could swan over to St. John’s Episcopal Church with Ivanka and pose with a Bible that she’d stashed in her $1,540 Max Mara tote did it occur to these two protesters, who both work in education, that what their president had done was totally un-American—not to mention unconstitutional. So they decided to sue.

Radiya Buchanan (left) and Ann Dagrin in 2018, when Buchanan received her master’s degree.

“I remember vividly people running through the streets blindly with tears running down their faces, asking for anything to be poured into their eyes, whether it was milk or water or solution,” says Buchanan, a director with Higher Achievement. “People were coughing, gagging, throwing up from the tear gas getting into their lungs.”