Students gather outside White House to support universal rights

Students+held+signs+outside+the+White+House+to+show+their+solidarity+with+groups+they+believe+President-elect+Donald+Trump+has+insulted.+Photo+courtesy+Michael+Barsky.
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Students gather outside White House to support universal rights

Students held signs outside the White House to show their solidarity with groups they believe President-elect Donald Trump has insulted. Photo courtesy Michael Barsky.

Students held signs outside the White House to show their solidarity with groups they believe President-elect Donald Trump has insulted. Photo courtesy Michael Barsky.

Students held signs outside the White House to show their solidarity with groups they believe President-elect Donald Trump has insulted. Photo courtesy Michael Barsky.

Students held signs outside the White House to show their solidarity with groups they believe President-elect Donald Trump has insulted. Photo courtesy Michael Barsky.

By Mary Dimitrov

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Approximately 30 Whitman students gathered outside the White House this Saturday to show solidarity with oppressed minorities. The protest was spurred by President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign comments and social policies—many of which the students said they find offensive.

“We protested against Islamophobia, racism, sexism, [maltreatment of] the disabled and scapegoating immigrants,” senior Keara Sullivan said. “We protested for tolerance and acceptance.”

They also protested to protect the environment, senior Mariano Zamora added.

Students displayed their opinions by sitting with signs including messages such as “Girls just want to have FUNdamental rights,” “Build bridges not walls,” and “We shouldn’t have to protest for civil rights.” They also handed out flyers, talked with pedestrians and walked around D.C. with posters.

One of the event coordinators, senior Jessica Kline, believed the demonstration was necessary since many Whitman students disagree with Trump’s treatment of minorities.

“We feel that Trump is oppressive of minority groups,” Kline said. “I wanted to visually stand with the minorities we think will be negatively affected by Trump’s win.”

Kline organized the event via Facebook and advertised the week before the demonstration both verbally in school and by sharing the event with students on Facebook.

Though Kline disagrees with Trump’s social policies, she emphasized that the events wasn’t designed to protest the election.

“I’m upset with the election results, but I don’t want to protest the democratic system,” Kline said. “It was less of a protest and more of a sign of community and ideas.”

The 30 students, mostly upperclassmen, attended the demonstration, along with students from Sidwell Friends School and Bethesda-Chevy-Chase High School. Kline noted that they were the only group in front of the White House protesting Trump, explaining most protest groups were in front of Trump Tower in New York, New York.

Most students who attended believed the demonstration was successful.

“It gave me hope, something that I haven’t felt since the election results,” senior Michael Barsky said. “It also was successful because so many people who were parts of marginalized communities came to us with full support and joy. I was so moved by the amount of support we got from the protest.”

Barsky felt one interaction truly embodied the idea behind the demonstration.

“There was a third-grade teacher from Portland, Oregon that broke down into complete tears and was so moved by our event,” Barsky said. “She said students, many who felt marginalized by the Trump campaign, were fearful of their future and she felt helpless on what to do.”

The teacher took their flyers and will be sharing them with her third-grade class when she gets home, Barsky said.

“This event moved beyond just the White House, and will be going all the way to Portland and helping those kids feel safe,” Barsky said.

Kline plans on organizing more demonstrations if Trump continues what many view as discrimination against minorities that began during his campaign throughout his presidency.

“We can’t change the election but we can influence what he does in office,” Sullivan said. “We can show people they shouldn’t be afraid.”

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