Silent Trump protest at University of Delaware [video/photos]

Delaware residents and students joined to protest the election of Donald Trump on Tuesday. 

Around 100 university students and staff, and Newark residents, of all ages, races and genders joined together on Tuesday for a silent march against the campaign and election of Republican President-elect Donald Trump.

The group walked in silence through part of the University of Delaware’s campus and on Main Street, holding signs that read “Hate is Not Great,” “He’s Not My President” and “Love Trumps Hate.” They followed the march with song, reciting political folk tunes like “This Land is My Land,” and “We Shall Overcome.”

“Whether or not there’s actual change in the election, it doesn’t matter. It’s more you’re making a statement that a lot of the things that have been said are not okay,” said student Holden Kata, one of the marchers.

Since Trump won the election through the Electoral College last week, dozens of protests have been organized throughout the nation.

Protesters said they’re concerned about the racism, misogyny and xenophobia brought up during the Trump campaign. There has also  been a spike in hate crimes in the United States since the campaign started, according to several reports. Some protesters also feel their voices haven’t been heard, as candidate Hillary Clinton won the popular vote.

University professor Gitu Baru said she started the march in Newark after learning her students, mostly international, are anxious and concerned about the election results. She said her son and his friends are also concerned about the country’s future with Trump in office.

“I took the idea of the silent march based on my experiences as a student in India, where the idea of a silent march came from Gandhi’s nonviolent protest as a march of solidarity. Not protesting anything, because this is a democracy, we have to accept the results of the election, but we can say, ‘Here we are, coming together,’” Baru said.

Student John Micklos helped spread the word of the demonstration to the student body. He said it’s important students become aware of injustices and organize in an effort to make a difference.

“I think I shared in a lot of students’ feelings of uncertainty after the most recent presidential election. And as a philosophy student, I try to project how major events like that will shift things, and I would like to think I support social progress, and it doesn’t look like change is going to happen in Washington, so it comes down to that happening in our communities, in our own social spheres,” Micklos said.

“So I saw the opportunity to help organize people and give them a medium to express themselves in their uncertainty, after the most recent events.”

The university march is not the only demonstration taking place in Newark. On Tuesday, at 6 p.m., the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Newark is hosting a march to demonstrate equality and justice.

Several Newark residents also attended the march at the university, including Wendy Perry and her friend JoAnne Barnes. Perry said she’s concerned about Roe v. Wade, harassment of immigrants and Muslims and how a Trump Administration could affect foreign policy.

“The sheer tone of the national discourse now is so disrespectful and it’s a step back. I feel like we’ve gone back 40 years in terms of women’s feeling of safety and being part of this society,” she said. “I think somebody has to start listening, if we stand up and speak.”

Barnes said she and her husband were horrified by Trump’s campaign, and shares her friend’s sentiments.

“My hope is we’ll make the message clear that very many people voted for Hillary, actually the popular vote, she won it, so I don’t want him to believe he has a mandate, because I don’t believe he does,” she said.

Kata, one of the student marchers, said he believes messages of hate have spread to the University of Delaware campus. He pointed to a recent article in the campus newspaper, the Review, which reported that students found threatening messages in the Christiana West Tower dorms, reading, “Trump is going to deport all of you bitch ass Mexicanos and Taliban members from this tower.”

“There’s a lot of hatred and divisive language thrown around on campus, and I think students are feeling uncomfortable on both sides of the spectrum, so it’s important to come out here and show we’re a united front and preach solidarity on campus,” Kata said.

Last year, the university said it would make a commitment to increasing diversity on campus, following years of criticism from political and civic leaders. Student Megan Hart said the election adds to the lack of inclusion many students already feel.

“They feel kind of ostracized and uncertain about what their future’s going to be, of whether they put all this effort into four years of college and they’re going to get out and won’t even have the rights they had going in to college,” she said. “It’s a strange time to be a college student, but we also have power being so young and having so many opportunities.”

After the march, Hart spread a message to students to get off social media, and instead organize to make a difference in their community.

“This is an important time, it’s a different time than protests before, a lot of people talk on social media” she said. “I wanted to put a body and face to the protest, so people can see people are being affected and want to unify and create a movement that will change what’s happened in this current election.”

Baru, a professor at UD, said she also is encouraging her students to be active citizens all of the time, not only every four years.

“I just want people to realize that to just protest for the sake of protest doesn’t always help,” Baru said. “Young people can organize, and they have a lot of power and they have to start work early, if they want change, and not wait until primary (election) season.”

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