Students React to Anti-Trump Protests


Thousands marched and chanted outside of Trump Tower Wednesday night, November 9th, kicking off the first wave of similar protests and rallies held all weekend at various places in New York City, as well as across the country.

Many students participated in the march up Broadway from Union Square to 57th street, stopping traffic at points, and chanting phrases like, “Not my president,” and “Love Trumps hate.” Five students attending Bard programs in Annandale and New York City agreed to share their personal views on the response taking place through mass demonstrations.

“I woke up that morning feeling like it was the end of the world,” said Gaby Berbey, a student who traveled to New York City from the Bard Annandale campus to attend the protests being held the night after the election. “Right when I got to Grand Central, it looked like life was continuing and that’s what I needed to feel in that moment. The amount of solidarity gave me hope that things are going to be ok.”

Others felt similarly that group demonstrations had a therapeutic quality. After getting out of class Wednesday night in the city, Julia Tinneny heard the protesters marching up the nearby street after getting out of class Wednesday night in the city, and joined in with enthusiasm. “It’s really important to see the people who lost,” she said.

Tinneny said that she believed the protests were a way to have issues be seen and talked about. “I don’t think a candidate lost, but individuals and communities and groups. I think it’s really important, honestly, to put faces to that. Being at the protest felt more like unity.”

So far, most of the demonstrations held across the country have been organized quickly, using social media to help garner a large volume of participants. While marching, or gathering in large crowds to rally, protesters have placed themselves opposite the President-Elect’s views, voicing their support of issues like same-sex marriage, immigration and women’s rights.

At first skeptical of how clear and concise a message could be delivered through marches and rallies, a student, who prefers not to be named, said she now feels that “Protests make your local representatives and people pay attention. They need to be aware of what’s going on and protests and saying, ‘This is our message’ and being clear — that makes a lot of sense and I hadn’t thought about it in that way before.”

Some of her skepticism still remains, however. “I think it’s important to have a clear and concise message and not do harm along the way that makes people not respect what you’re trying to say.” The unnamed student is referring to the riots and violence that have broken out across the country in response to the election. In Portland, one demonstrator was shot, and the scene remained chaotic, with protesters smashing car windows.

Even if protests remain peaceful, however, some students don’t feel that this is even the right time for mass demonstrations. Student Caila Glickman also joined one of the first marches to Trump tower the night after the election. “I feel conflicted,” she said. “Because I do feel very liberal and engaged in human rights. But I do believe in the Founding Fathers’ mission for America and view of America. I think it’s outdated and the electoral college is outdated, but there are checks and balances set up for a reason.”

Glickman explained that she enjoyed the protest as it was nice to be surrounded by people who think the same way she does, save one aspect: “The ‘Not my President’ thing, I didn’t agree with. He is our president. If Hillary won and the other side did that, we would be like, ok, but she is. It sucks, but this is a democracy.”

Wil Shelton shares a similar perspective. He did not attend any of the protests, because “No matter how hard it is to accept it, Donald Trump got elected by the people.” He went on to say he believed voting was the people’s best form of protest against Trump, and that protesting his election would be pointless. “I honestly don’t wish Donald Trump will fail. I hope he doesn’t fail. Hoping that he does not succeed is hoping that the country does not succeed.”

The days following the election have elicited a wide spectrum of responses from people across the country, some believing energy from these reactions should be put into demonstrations, others disagreeing. These reactions come after the first wave of protests, and whether the next week, month, or year will bring a heavier backlash, or a more unified support towards the President-Elect is unknown.


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