What went down at Anteaters Dump Trump

UCI has been protesting since the results came through

President Obama said, “Regardless of whether your candidate won or lost, the sun will come up in the morning”. Well, the sun did in fact come up in the morning although many hearts were broken by the results of the election. Almost immediately after Donald J. Trump was announced as the next president of the United States, college campuses across the nation displayed their dissatisfaction with the country’s decision through protest. Less than a full 24 hours after the election results, students are still trying to find a way to cope with the fate of our country.

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UC Irvine students arranged a peaceful protest, “Anteaters Dump Trump”, following the protests that took place the previous night. The gathering was organized via Facebook and their mission was clearly stated:

“Lets send a clear and loud message. Hate will not be tolerated. This is the time for our communities to organize and unify to promote change and resist hate. This is our generation’s civil rights movement. As students we have a moral obligation to counter the messages of racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, etc to ensure a safe and free society for all.”

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People began to gather at the flagpoles before the event’s 7pm start time. There was a brief introduction at the start of the event and from there, it was an open-mic night. Students lined up and one by one they told personal narratives, voiced concerns and disappointments, and more than anything they encouraged the audience to promote love instead of hate.

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UCI freshman Israel Foss was wearing a white t-shirt with “Dump Trump” written on it.

He told me:”The fact that he did not win the popular vote but only the electoral votes shows that this is an outdated system and shows that there needs to be a change from the bottom up. This is a warning shot that we are going in a very dangerous direction and it is our time to show who we are as Americans and humans. While we have a person that doesn’t represent us in office, we ourselves hold the power of compassion empathy”.

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UCI student and photographer Gabby Salinardo admitted to the audience that her own parents had voted for Trump and it tore her apart. She has channeled her energy into a photography project where people write down how they feel about the election on a whiteboard. The student pictured above wrote “I’m 100% white and 100% sorry. All I have to say is I care for your rights. I will use the white privilege unfairly bestowed upon me to fight for your rights. #LOVE”. Gabby’s work can be seen on her instagram.

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An elderly woman who immigrated to the United States from the Netherlands in 1964 said that it was completely different coming to the U.S. then versus now. She said “I thought there was no racism left, maybe a little bit, but nothing like it is now. Like Hillary said, we have to be strong, we have to be. We have to stand up”. She thanked the audience for listening to her and told us that she loved living in this country.

A 17 year old high school student, who wasn’t even of age to vote in this election also spoke. He said that he started Tuesday November 8th, very excited, he was proud that the United States was going to elect its first female president. He had done everything he possibly could to support Hillary Clinton, other than voting and was waiting to celebrate the pay off of his efforts. However, his day ended in shattering disappointment and tears.

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An undocumented UCLA graduate feared for not only her safety, but the security of her dreams. Her family came to the U.S. for safety, a better life, and to fulfill their dreams. She said that a Trump presidency made her fear that she would never get to medical school, become a doctor, and finally be an example for her younger siblings to look up to. She refused to let anything get in the way of her goals and stated that she is “undocumented and unapologetic”.

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Cynthia Noemi Lopez, Alejandra Aguirre, and Ana Govea all wore shirts representing different parts of Mexico and help up the Mexican flag with pride. Cynthia told The Tab that her hope for this country “is that one day we come together as a family, one day we come together as one. That’s what I grew up with. Let’s fight for it”. Alejandra told The Tab of her concerns regarding issues of sexual assault with a Trump presidency. She said, “Sexual assault is a very important issue that is disregarded by this man, who is white”.

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This event provided a safe space for students, family, friends, and members of the community to voice their opinions, concerns, and emotions about the unexpected results of the election. Both the speakers and the audience wore their disappointment and frustration on their sleeves. There were many tears and long faces throughout the night. However, the environment was supportive as people cheered, clapped, encouraged, and even hug one another. The overall message of this gathering was not in fact to “Dump Trump”, but rather to trump hate with love, to come together, support each other, and realize that change in the election process is needed. Donald Trump represents the problem, that “America is broken”. Student’s wanted a voice in this election, and their votes being overruled by the electoral college, made them feel silenced.

Perhaps the most important quote of the night came from one of the hosts of the event. He said, “We didn’t fail. We did our part and the system failed us”.

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