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Students demonstrate, discuss after Trump’s election

| Thursday, November 10, 2016

As results from the swing states streamed in late Tuesday night, students remained awake, anxiously awaiting the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

The next morning, campus was charged with emotions as students reflected on the aftermath of a historic event that — for many — marked their first trip to the ballots.

By 9 a.m., more than 100 students had gathered outside DeBartolo Hall to protest the election of Donald Trump.

Senior Jessica Pedroza said she and a number of other Latino students launched plans for a protest on election night, as a Hillary Clinton victory seemed less and less likely. The goal of the demonstration, she said, was to “stand in solidarity with all of the groups that Trump has attacked.”

“We’re not trying to incite violence,” she said. “We’re trying to spread love and support for everyone who’s affected by all of Trump’s policies he’s proposed, his rhetoric.”

Students waved signs and chanted outside of the classroom building for the morning hours before eventually marching to South Dining Hall. The group resumed its protest later in the afternoon, marching from Main Building back to DeBartolo.

As they walked, they chanted: “Love trumps hate.”

Sophomore Nardos Ayele said she thinks the goal of the protest is to create safe spaces for those who face discrimination and to encourage dialogue.

“People are going to say that this is against the election,” Ayele said. “It’s not about being against the election. It’s not about being against democracy.

“It’s about standing up for human dignity. It’s about standing up for our community.”

Many of the protesters expressed concerns for what a Trump presidency means for students granted deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA), the result of an Obama executive order that allows undocumented people who came to the United States as children to gain work authorization and, in many cases, university financial aid.

“A lot of our students — a lot of their futures — were riding on this election,” Pedroza said. “Especially DACA students — who are a part of Notre Dame — don’t know what the future holds for them. Because DACA might be taken away. Their families might be separated.”

Stuart Greene, an associate professor of English and Africana studies, said that as an educator he feels most concerned about the lack of inclusion in the country. He came to the protest to support “a group that’s fighting back.”

“The president-elect has made it more than clear that some people’s lives don’t matter as much as others,” he said. “And every one of these people has a really good story. And every one of these people belongs here.”

The group echoed his sentiments as they continued to traverse campus, chanting: “Build bridges, not walls.”

Passersby looked on with interest. Most said nothing. One yelled, “Lock her up,” as he walked past the spectacle.

“It sounds like her voice is about to go out,” another said of Pedroza, who was leading the crowd in yet another chant.

The general atmosphere among the protesters was one of uncertainty.

“I’m still in shock and fear,” senior Juan Velazquez said. “I’m very scared of how the country’s going to move forward.”

“Frankly, [the election] will change the direction of the country in a way that I don’t think anyone is prepared for,” senior Xitlaly Estrada, one of the protest’s informal organizers, added.

A mantra used again and again by the protesters listed the many groups and individuals the protesters “stand for” — women, the LGBTQ community, sexual assault survivors, black lives, blue lives, working class people’s lives, migrants and immigrants.

“I think one of the scariest things, as someone who has been a victim of sexual assault, is to have someone in office — to actually be president of the United States — who is undergoing trial for sexual assault and knowing that absolutely nothing’s going to happen to him,” Saint Mary’s sophomore Allie Ward said.

“People keep wondering why we don’t report it,” she said. “Why don’t we tell anyone that we’ve been raped or sexually assaulted? This is exactly why.”

Later in the evening, Multicultural Student Programs and Services hosted a post-election discussion with political science professor and Latino Institute co-director Luis Ricardo Fraga in the LaFortune Ballroom. Students, staff and administrators listened as Fraga explained that voter turnout among Trump supporters was high because Trump sent a message that the forces of globalization were leaving former industrial workers behind, and that current leaders were indifferent to job losses.

“The Trump campaign was very effective at sending out a message of, if you will, anti-globalization and anti-multiculturalism,” he said.

The discussion then turned to specific issues, such as the status of undocumented students, whether pending lawsuits against Trump would continue, who Trump would appoint to his Cabinet and to the Supreme Court. Administrators offered support to students and encouraged anyone who felt targeted to report instances of harassment.

At the end of the day, students made their way to the Grotto to pray and reflect.

“May God help heal this nation and may praying remind us that we are all one family and that we are all equal and that we are all human, regardless of our political affiliations,” Pedroza wrote in the Facebook event for the prayer service.

It all ties in what she had said earlier in the day. Though the long and divisive election season is over, Pedroza emphasized the need for conversations and compromises.

“We’re here to support each other and love each other,” she said at the protest. “We’re here to create spaces to get together and talk about these issues so that we don’t feel alone.”

With tears in her eyes, Ayele stepped forward and agreed.

“We’re people before we’re anything else,” she said. “We’re people before we’re Republican or Democrat. We’re people before we’re Notre Dame students. We’re people before we’re men or women.

“We’re people.”

Associate news editor Megan Valley and news writer Emily McConville contributed to this report.

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About Katie Galioto

Katie, the Observer's current Managing Editor, is a senior majoring in political science, with minors in Business Economics and Journalism, Ethics and Democracy. She's a former Walsh Hall resident who now lives off campus and hails from Chanhassen, Minnesota. Follow her on Twitter @katiegalioto.

Contact Katie
  • Babs


  • Newyorkmom

    You want to come to America,,, great! Come on in, just make sure you come in LEGALLY!

    • João Pedro Santos

      Can you explain when did you and your ancestors come to America legally?

      • Andrea

        The fact is we have laws in this country if some one wants to sneak into this country illegally without due process then you take a chance that one day you will be caught and deported!! Not that hard to understand!

        • João Pedro Santos

          So… Did your ancestors respect the laws of Native Americans?

          • Andrea

            Yes as a matter of fact…that’s why I am legal! You keep bringing people’s ancestors and did they respect the laws of Native Americans ! How about respecting our laws in the here and now! We can’t change anything that happened 100 or more yrs ago.

          • João Pedro Santos

            Are you a legal citizen? When did Native Americans (I’m talking about Native Americans, not English descendants) approve your visa?

          • Andrea

            Didn’t you read my prev comment? Yes I am!! so was my parents and their parents…my roots go deep! I’m sorry you don’t like or agree with the way America became a nation! I know the history! Not all of it is good! We live in the 21st century! It is 2016! It is what it is. Can’t change what happened 400 yrs ago! People are tired of supporting illegals, deadbeats who don’t want to work and take advantage of the system! and then not take care of our seniors& veterans. tired of people wanting to be IN America but won’t even hold an Amrican flag! or say anything good about it. Want to come here and have their own laws. Get offended when we say Christmas and want special treatment because of their religon! Nope American are going to take back their country!! We will fight to hold on to the traditions and believes that we have lived by and keep God in our schools and country before it is all taken away from us! Sorry if that offends you or you think that is unfair. Illegals need to follow the law and the process and others who come here wanting us to conform to their ways and don’t like it when they get offended should go back to their own country!

          • João Pedro Santos

            “People are tired of supporting illegals”
            They don’t support “illegals”. On the other hand “illegals” pay taxes for things such as social security to which they can’t benefit from but you can. You’re welcome.
            “but won’t even hold an Amrican flag”
            Do you know what the 1st amendment is? If you don’t like it, move to North Korea. There anybody who doesn’t hold a national flag will go to jail.
            “Get offended when we say Christmas”
            Nobody gets offended by the word “Christmas”. However, people like you seem to get really offended when someone says “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”… You are really sensitive.
            “keep God in our schools and country”
            Have you heard about the separation between church and state? It’s in the constitution. If you don’t like it, move to Saudi Arabia where there is a mandatory religion and if you don’t practice it you’ll be sentenced to death.
            You seem to be really “triggered”…

      • Newyorkmom

        Yes, all four of my grandparents came from Ireland LEGALLY. They had to have a spinsor, a job and a place to live. The worked hard didn’t take any help from the government and raised their families. They were LAW abiding citizens and very proud to become US citizens LEGALLY! Yours?

        • João Pedro Santos

          Must of undocummented citizens are law abiding (and the ones who don’t usually either go to jail or face deportation). They also don’t take any help from the government, but I guess you’re too lazy to search for that information by yourself.

          • Newyorkmom

            You must be kidding,,, they don’t take any help from government,,,, seriously, do some research into the cost to all levels of government – esp education and health care for the “undocumented”.

  • Walt Osgood

    What would happen if all of our southern borders were removed? What about Sovereign Rights? There is a reason for borders!!! Newyorkmom said it perfectly..JUST DO IT LEGALLY

    • João Pedro Santos

      Canada should create a wall in its southern border. America has literally millions of political extremists and for the second time in 16 years someone was elected president without the popular vote.

      • Walt Osgood

        I assume you are a ND Student….there is a valid reason for the electoral college….if the millions of political extremists bothers you..simply leave

        • João Pedro Santos

          Valid reason like what? Opposing democracy?
          I’ll leave when people like you leave the Middle East alone.

  • Andrea

    Where is the American flag in these demonstrations? People want to come to America illegally get a free education when people here legally can’t even afford to send their own kids to college then raise a foreign flag and not the flag of the country that is paying for their education! That is disrespectful to me!

    • João Pedro Santos

      People coming to America “illegally” DON’T get a free education. Classic Drumpf supporter spreading racist lies.

      • Andrea

        Yeah now tell us they don’t get welfare,medical,which covers everything,food stamps and housing! Just search do illegals get welfare! Don’t call me a racist because I am sick and tired of my hard earned tax dollars going into programs that go to non Americans and not in my own pocket! You drumpf punk!

    • João Pedro Santos

      If you feel “triggered” and “disrespected”, then maybe you should go to a “safe space”.

      • Andrea

        Still didn’t answer my ? Where is the American flag? obviously you “feel” no need to appreciate what you get here in this country! I think you and all your illegals need to find the safe place 😆😝 …to hide!!

      • Andrea

        You still didn’t answer my? Where is the American flag? Obviously you don’t appreciate this country enough! Then you wonder why noone wants you here! I think you and your illegals need to find a “safe space” 😆😝 here I will fly it for you🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸 You ungreatful punk!