UA students, Tucson community react to Donald Trump's win with 'Not My President' protest
Students and community members gathered at the UA campus Monday night to protest President-elect Donald Trump. The event, called “NotMyPresident: College Students and Tucson Community Speaks Up,” was organized by seven UA students who said they wanted to come together and provide a space for people to express themselves.
The organizers informed the Dean of Students Office beforehand and contacted the University of Arizona Police Department and the Tucson Police Department to inform them of the event. On Facebook, the event was shared with almost 6,000 people and got close to 2,000 RSVPs.
Public health senior Khadra Farah, the primary organizer, got emotional in her opening speech to the crowd.
“Tonight, by being here, you’re showing me that this is what America is all about,” Farah said. “Let me be clear: This is a peaceful protest meant to [let] a lot of people know that we will not stand for any form of hate, whether it be bigotry, misogyny or any other form.”
Video courtesy UATV3
Farah said that as an African, black, Muslim woman and student, she wanted to make sure that she and other marginalized groups could feel safe on and off campus in the wake of the election.
“We all know that Trump has a lot of words,” Farah said. “Well I do, too. After the Tuesday election results, I stayed in my bed with my eyes wide open, thinking of how I could possibly attend school the next day. I felt hurt, betrayed, but most of all, astonished by how many Americans validated Trump’s message of hate toward African Americans, Hispanics and Latinos, Muslims, Jews, the LGBTQ community, the disabled, etc.”
Many attendees brought signs to the event, some of which read “Predator in Chief,” “Love Trumps Hate” and “Not My President.” A number of speakers engaged the crowd, led “do not give up” chants and shared their thoughts and feelings about Trump and the election. Local Tucson artists also performed.
Tucson resident Erin Posthumus carried a “Climate Change is Real” poster and said she was there to advocate for those affected by the results of the election.
“I am here because I want to show support for everyone that’s here and show that I’m against a lot of the stances that Trump takes on a lot of issues that are important to me,” Posthumus said. “That includes climate change and that includes the rhetoric that he’s been using throughout the campaign, which I feel has been very negative, and I feel promotes a lot of animosity toward a lot of different groups.”
Pro-Trump supporters made their presence known, too, including science technology senior Trevor Peterson, who stood outside of the Henry Koffler Building holding a Confederate flag.
Peterson, who held a sign that said, “You’re all a bunch of cry babies #Trump’sAmerica," attracted a lot of attention from anti-Trump protesters.
“I’m here because this protest makes literally no sense,” Peterson said. “These people are protesting something that’s been in place since this country started.”
Other students stood back and watched the protest, some wearing “Make America Great Again” hats. French major Grifin Hill said he went to the event to analyze what was being said.
“I’m a pro-Trump guy and I think a lot of what they say—I mean it’s freedom of speech so they can do whatever they want—but I just don’t understand what they’re trying to do,” Hill said. “He’s going to be president of the U.S.; it is what it is. I just wish that honestly there was a better way to do this. I’m seeing terrible signs on both sides.”
UA administrators wore neon vests and patrolled the event to monitor free speech and ensure that both sides could safely express themselves, and UAPD was on the scene to make sure that nothing got too out of hand.
“We monitor things, we make sure people are being respectful, we make sure people aren’t feeling threatened,” said Filbert Barrera, UAPD public information officer. “Even though they might say things we don’t agree with, it’s not necessarily illegal. If we perceive that maybe it’s getting a little too heated, we stand there even just as a deterrent to let people know they can express their ideas.”
The protesters marched through campus toward University Boulevard and Fourth Avenue and culminated in a gathering at Catalina Park, where protesters sang and chanted about making a change.
“We must love and support one another,” Farah chanted with the crowd at the park. “We have nothing to lose but our chains.”
A Twitter List by dailywildcat
Follow Leah Merrall on Twitter.