Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Thursday, January 18, 2018

Students host campus walkout to protest Trump presidency

Protesters spoke out about feelings of fear and discrimination

A group of approximately 40 students attended a campus walkout and protest on the steps of the Mary Graydon Center on Tuesday afternoon, rallying in response to the Trump presidency.

Organizers and speakers at the protest held signs conveying an array of messages, from “Mike Pence Is Gay” to “Love Trumps Hate.”

“We wanted to say we’re not happy with Trump, and just generally to defy the complacency of people who are okay with this presidency,” junior Lee Clyne, one of the speakers at the walkout, told The Eagle.

Representatives from several AU student organizations, including AU Students Against Sexual Violence, spoke at the rally. Speakers shared their personal stories and experiences, and spoke about their fears of oppression and discrimination under a Trump presidency. Some commented on the racist messages and symbols found on AU’s campus in the wake of the election, as well as the rise in hate crimes being committed across the country.

Junior Lauren Kor, who co-organized the protest with Jason Charter, encouraged students, staff and faculty to contact congresspeople and senators with their concerns about the presidency.

“Silence is violence,” Kor told the crowd. “Especially when it comes to the lives of those already being targeted and hurt.”

But some students seemed unsure of why the walkout was held, including junior Emem Obot.

“There is no purpose,” Obot told The Eagle. “When you’re doing action you’re supposed to bring about something. I guess this brings awareness, but we already know Trump is president.”

A small group of Trump supporters showed up near the end of the rally, holding a “Make American Great Again” banner. Most students at the protest ignored them, although one student shouted “Get out of here, you f------ Nazis!” prompting the supporters to respond, “We’re Jews!”

As the rally wrapped up, students who were not scheduled to talk were given the opportunity to address the crowd. Sophomore Ma’at Sargeant spoke to the crowd about her dissatisfaction with anti-Trump protesters and activists’ focus on Hillary Clinton’s loss of the election.

“While you guys are out here chanting ‘love trumps hate’ and ‘not my president,’ maybe you should be raising awareness about issues,” Sargeant said. “You don’t need to be focusing on how Hillary lost, you need to be focusing on the communities that are actually going to be hurt by this presidency.”

The event closed as Kor thanked students for attending the protest despite the rainy weather.

“This doesn’t end here,” she said. “We have until December 19 to let our voices be known and to not let Trump get into our house.”

amammina@theeagleonline.com


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