On Jan. 20, hundreds of University of New Mexico students and community members rallied outside of Popejoy Hall to protest the inauguration of Donald Trump. Speakers from a variety of student groups spoke to the crowd. Their causes ranged, but one united message was shared:that the safety of marginalized groups is under threat and that UNM as a community must stand in solidarity with all victims and organize to stand against hate.
Signs that read “The system elected Trump, not the people” and “Make Amerikkka hate again” were held up during the rally. Teva Gabis-Levine, a community organizer, shared his thoughts about the election. “He is currently having the most expensive inauguration in history that no one wants to go to. We have thousands of people marching who are afraid of Trump and his cabinet reversing the progress that we have made.”
Jose Enriquez, a student organizer who attended the walkout, shared his concerns about the next four years. “My first concern is for Latinos and the amount of bigotry centered around this campaign…I don’t think Hillary Clinton is any better. She is more quiet about her bigotry. But with Trump being elected, hate groups feel emboldened. As a member of a labor union, it is going to get harder for workers too.”
Some speakers advocated to continue to protest the presidency of Donald Trump and placed emphasis on the dire need to organize, to build, and to further the movement. As the rally continued, passersby joined the gathering and many were encouraged to speak. Despite the devastating and evermore apparent threat against any progress as a nation, the mood of the rally was uplifting as students promised to protect one another and to continue to fight against the oppressive system. Before marching to poll locations for early voting in a local election, students circled and held hands to ceremonial drums. The rally lasted just over an hour before the planned march. Students and local activists plan on organizing future events similar to the walkout with the purpose of empowering the community.