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Students protest Donald Trump rally

| Wednesday, May 4, 2016

While Trump supporters filled the Century Center in South Bend, protestors lined the street outside, holding signs and chanting for more love and less of the hate they feel Donald Trump represents.

Saint Mary’s junior Maria Hernandez said she believes attending protests is important for people who have strong political convictions.

“We don’t believe that Trump is doing a very good job of showing what America should be represented as,” she said. “It’s important to stand up for your beliefs, to let people be aware of how there are injustices in the world. However, I do believe it should be peaceful, and I think thus far, being here, it’s been quite peaceful.”

Notre Dame freshman Rose Ashley said she thinks Trump has gained support through spreading hate.

“Trump’s main message is hate,” she said. “Hate for all beings — hate for women, hate for gay people, hate for transgender people. I think that that’s a message that we can’t tolerate in the 21st century as human beings. We need to support each other.”

Ashley, a South Bend native, said she feels passionate about voicing her opposition to Trump as a representative of her hometown.

“It’s very sad for me to see my hometown come out in such large numbers to support Trump,” she said. “I just want to get the message across that not everyone here supports Trump, and there is a large majority of people who do not want him here.”

Ashley said she believes Trump’s personality is one reason he has garnered so much support.

“His personality commands a room,” she said. “He’s very persuasive. I think right now in America, people are scared. They want a big personality who really just promises a lot. I think especially in this area — one that can be conservative and low-middle class — he’s really inspiring a message in people of getting rid of everything that is ‘bad’ and giving them something that’s good.”

Ashley said she opposes Trump because he is divisive at a time when America needs someone who will unite the people.

“Love trumps hate,” she said. “[Trump supporters] are spreading a message of hatred, and we need to be the United States of America. We need to support each other and love each other and not divide among these really harsh lines.”

Saint Mary’s junior Gabriela Herrera said she protests to stand up for her beliefs.

“It’s important to show your rights,” she said. “If you don’t agree with everything the other candidate says, then you should be able to represent that.”

Melissa Montes, a sophomore at Saint Mary’s, said as a woman and a Latina, she thinks it is important to speak out against racist and sexist comments made by Trump.

“I am a part of both minorities — I am a woman and I am Mexican,” she said. “He’s said some pretty horrendous things about who I am as a person. I think that it’s important to exercise your rights. If you have an opinion, then you should stand for it.”

Montes said she realizes both sides have opinions, and both are important, which is why she chooses to make her voice heard.

“I think there are some people on the other side who may be swayed by our protest,” she said. “That’s not the goal for me, because I think a lot of people have very strong opinions on the other side too, and they’re valid opinions. Everyone can have one — that’s the great thing about being in America.”

Saint Mary’s senior Deirdre O’Leary said she hopes she can spread love to Trump and his supporters through her protests.

“There are some signs on this side protesting Trump that are hateful and expletive,” she said. “I want to pray for a conversion of heart for all those who are voting for Donald Trump and for Donald Trump himself. He’s very lacking in character, and he doesn’t respect the human dignity of every person regardless of their race, their religion, their creed, their age, their gender. He just does not respect that. I just want to show that I respect that, and I’m standing up for any other candidate that will respect those rights.”

O’Leary said she hopes voicing her opinions can help others, though that is not her end goal.

“If you have a firm belief that is dear to your heart, then you should act upon it and you should express it,” she said. “I’m here spreading the love. If someone over there feels touched or loved by what we’re doing over here, then that’s a great thing, but I’m just here to express my belief, just like they are.”

Saint Mary’s first year Jessica Kapiszka said she attended the protests to “check out both sides” rather than to directly protest, although she does not understand how Trump has gained popularity — especially in South Bend — with the comments he has made about minority groups.

“It’s baffling how he’s become so popular,” she said. “I think people hear looking more at what he can do for our economy rather than what he says about our people.”

Saint Mary’s first year Faviloli Cruz said she came to the protest more to observe and less to protest because she believes it is important to listen to other opinions.

“South Bend is really populated with immigrants,” Cruz said. “That’s one major thing for a lot of people. It’s good to see how others feel about it — to get different perspectives on it. … You’d think a lot of people wouldn’t support him, but it’s the opposite.”

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About Nicole Caratas

Nicole is a senior English Writing and Humanistic Studies double major at Saint Mary's College. Now a senior news writer, she previously served as the Saint Mary's Editor. She was born in real Chicago but grew up in the suburbs, and she currently lives in Opus Hall.

Contact Nicole