Students join national groups in White House protest

Students gathered in Kogan plaza before marching to the White House Thursday. Elizabeth Rickert | Hatchet Photographer
Students gathered in Kogan plaza before marching to the White House Thursday. Elizabeth Rickert | Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by reporter Meredith Roaten.

About 40 students and other GW community members marched from Kogan Plaza to the White House to protest president-elect Donald Trump Thursday afternoon.

After Trump’s visit to the White House earlier in the day, protesters said they wanted to send a message to the newly elected leader that they did not support him or his views. The protestors’ chants reflected the diversity of the communities represented in their ranks.

The protesters chanted phrases like, “Donald Trump, can you hear? Immigrants are welcome here!” and “Love trumps hate!” as they marched down Pennsylvania Avenue. Car horns and cheers greeted the group of mostly students as some community members began marching along with them.

Logan Malik, a leader in Fossil Free GW and chairperson of the Student Association’s student life committee, was one of the student that organized the march.

“All eyes are on D.C. right now, and I feel like it’s our responsibility to do whatever we can to show that this is not what we supported,” Malik said.

Though the group was mostly students, some faculty and community members participated as well. Holding her two children by the hand and chanting, associate professor of American studies and political science Libby Anker joined her students in protesting the president-elect.

“A lot of my students are frightened and scared about a Trump presidency, and I feel like it’s my duty to support them and to make sure that everyone person who’s a member of this country and who lives in this country feels welcome here and not afraid,” Anker said.

Upon arrival at the White House, the GW march joined with United We Dream, a youth-led immigrant network, who had brought their signs and message to the White House as well.

Katherine Villeda, a United We Dream member, said the group was protesting Trump’s presidency, but not only from an undocumented immigrant perspective.

“We’re against the hatred that he portrays. The islamophobia, the transphobia, the misogyny, the sexism, we’re all against it,” Villeda said. Both groups shared their beliefs as they merged into one group and United We Dream took the lead in calling out chants.

“We are the immigrants, the mighty mighty immigrants,” rang through the night.

Speakers from different communities like Native Americans and Black Lives Matter shared their fears about a Trump presidency.

The protest cries got louder as the night went on and media outlets began swarming the scene. One Trump supporter began live streaming the protest, but leaders of the groups encouraged their members not to engage and the protest went on uninterrupted.

As the evening wore on, the two groups got closer, getting shoulder to shoulder to dance and chant, “Up, up with liberation, down, down with deportation,” while Secret Service looked on.

Nick Sosa, a member of the Mexican Students Association at GW, said that even though Trump ran what he called a campaign full of hate, the nation had to unite in order to move forward.

“Everyone here is like a really big family, and that’s how America should be. Being together, being united is what’s going to move America forward,” Sosa said.

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