Anti-Trump Protests Attract Students

Crowds+chant+and+carry+homemade+signs+in+front+of+Trump+Tower+on+Fifth+Avenue+after+hearing+the+election+results.+%28SAM+MCHALE%2F+THE+OBSERVER%29
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Anti-Trump Protests Attract Students

Crowds chant and carry homemade signs in front of Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue after hearing the election results. (SAM MCHALE/ THE OBSERVER)

Crowds chant and carry homemade signs in front of Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue after hearing the election results. (SAM MCHALE/ THE OBSERVER)

Crowds chant and carry homemade signs in front of Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue after hearing the election results. (SAM MCHALE/ THE OBSERVER)

Crowds chant and carry homemade signs in front of Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue after hearing the election results. (SAM MCHALE/ THE OBSERVER)

By SOPHIE KOZUB, News Co-Editor

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Michael Appler, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’19, said that what he saw on the night of Nov. 9 was “strange” and “really bizarre.”

Standing among the protesters outside Trump International Hotel and Tower in Columbus Circle, Appler said that people were “yelling and protesting and you could see the silhouettes of people just casually eating dinner inside of Trump Tower.”

“That just seemed like the strangest thing,” he said. “For them, it was probably just like the ultimate voyeurism to just sit there and drink their wine and eat their food and just sort of look out the window and see a sea of begrudged millennials.”

Appler was one of several Fordham students who witnessed or took part in anti-Trump protests in the week following the election. While he’s “just as angry and upset as everyone else is,” he said that he “didn’t necessarily go to protest.”

“But you get a sense that some serious history is being made,” he said. “So you make your way down to see what’s going on and people get really into it.”

Appler attended both the anti-Trump protest in Columbus Circle on Wednesday night and the protest on fifth avenue outside Trump Tower on Saturday. He was among the first to arrive in Columbus Circle on Wednesday, and recounted seeing the circle being completely blocked by protesters.

Other Fordham students were drawn to the protests out of the desire for advocacy, such as Billy Pickett, FCLC ’17.

“I felt like I needed to be there, not for me, not for the bisexual white boy from Long Island, but for people of color, and women, and immigrants, and people with disabilities, and anyone,” Pickett said. “It was a really good experience when I was there. There was a lot of positivity, until about 8 or 9 p.m., when there was a pinata of Trump on a noose and I was like, that’s not what I’m here for. But there was a lot of love and acceptance.”

He added that the cops were “very kind, or at least tolerant” of the protesters and that there was “much more positivity in the signs than negativity.”

Claire Holmes, FCLC ’19, who participated in protests on Wednesday and Saturday, attested to the positive and accepting environment of the protests.

“Just every single type of group imaginable was there and they were all there together,” she said. “And you would have these straight-passing white men yelling out for abortion rights, or you’d have a group of queer people yelling out for Muslim lives and you’d have a group of Muslim people yelling out in solidarity with undocumented people.”

Students such as Shannon Constantine, FCLC ’19, participated in the protests for two reasons.

“At first, I went to the one on Wednesday night because I was in shock and I was angry and I needed a constructive way to process some of that anger,” she said. “And on Saturday night, I did it more to mobilize with members of the New York community and to hear more about the grievances that people have of going into the next administration.”

Across these students’ experiences were situations such as witnessing a 13-year-old actively encourage other protesters and watching parents walk with or carry their young children through the crowds of people.

“That day there were kids in strollers, and I saw elderly people walking. I felt a unity between people of different ages, races and sexual identities, the whole gamut, and it was nice,” Pickett said.

Moving forward, Constantine is hoping to write to faithless electors (electoral college voters capable of voting against their state) as well as elected state officials in her home state of Washington.

The protests weren’t wholeheartedly embraced by all, however. Appler said that “the one thing that did bug me about the protest and one thing that kept me from really being an active protester” was the lack of Hillary Clinton signs and posters at the events.

“It’s an interesting question, why people protesting the election of Donald Trump over the election of Hillary Clinton bring very few Hillary Clinton campaign posters to the protest,” he said. “And it makes you wonder who they voted for or, more importantly, who they didn’t vote for.”