There have been numerous counts of upsets and protests following Donald Trump’s win in the 2016 election. Temple has seen two marches down Broad Street, and a protest at the Bell Tower this past Wednesday night. The organizers were Fiona Cavanagh of the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance and Temple student Kennedy Freeman. They organized this protest with the intent to make students feel safe, included, and have their voices heard. Kennedy said, “What we want is to actually hear people’s stories and create this kind of empathy where you can actually feel what it’s like to be them.
Fiona noted that and said, “Our goal is giving people that platform to talk about where they come from, why they’re opposed to Trump. I think it’s important to understand our differences while we’re all under this same umbrella.”
Their event included leaders of students organizations on campus. Some included 15 Now, a student movement that promotes workers rights and the goal for all workers to have a minimum wage of 15 dollars, the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance, the Student Association for Latinos, and the Temple Democrats. This event at the Bell Tower allowed the leaders to share their personal stories, and send a message to those who attended that they are not alone.
Student Association for Latinos member Leidy Torres said, “I came to this country in the hopes of bettering myself, getting a better education, getting a better life. And now I feel like I am being judged because of it, when in reality we are all looking for the same thing.”
The Policy Director of the Temple Democrats, Benjamin Aitoumeziamen, joined the event to show his empathy for students during this time, and offer the Temple Democrats as a platform for students to remain involved. He said moving forward, it will be key that students don’t let the energy and passion for the rights they’re fighting for die down. He said, “The Democratic party is looking to act as a linkage… we want to be a channel and say we know what groups you can get involved in.”
He also said that those with privilege could help by being an ally.
“I’m gonna stand up for my minority friends if they’re being harassed, if they’re being verbally or physically abused and I know my body won’t be at harm, I will stand up. And I hope others will too.”
Though these students gathered peacefully and hoped to spread their message, I learned not every student is fond of the protests happening on campus. One student explained that he felt the majority of the protestors are people who didn’t vote in the election. Libertarian student Natalie LePera said, “Very few people understand the electoral college, very few people understand the power of checks and balances within the presidency so I feel like while they could be good they’re super misinformed and kinda shooting themselves in the foot with it.”