Over 150 people gathered in front of Nassau Hall the night of Nov. 9 to support the Unidad Latina en Acción NJ protest against new President-elect Donald Trump. Featuring speeches, chants, and a campus-wide march, the event united a diverse range of students and residents of the area who connected over their shared trepidations for Trump’s forthcoming presidency.
Jorge Torres, event organizer and executive director of Unidad Latina en Acción NJ, a nonprofit that fights and advocates for the rights of immigrants, explained that the goal of the event was to tell the community to be engaged in a national movement that is “against hate and against racism.”
He noted that while the night was successful, he believes there is ample room “to work harder with the students,” and to “start making those conversations, [making] this political environment,” adding that “if it doesn’t start [with] us, it’s going to be harder to make changes.”
Torres explained that the results of the election are not necessarily indicative of the Princeton community.
“People are coming outside, are coming on the streets. I think it is more important than what you see in the polls,” he stated. He offered a sense of hope for the future, explaining that while “this can shake us as a community… it can move us forward as one.”
The event started with a slew of passionate speeches highlighting concerns over Trump’s stances on topics including women’s rights, immigration, minorities, and race in America. Speakers shared personal narratives as well as pieces of creative expression.
Participants held signs with phrases written on them including “No hate, no racism, no Trump” while calling out “love trumps hate,” and “hey hey, ho ho, Trump’s got to go.”
The protest moved throughout campus, starting on Nassau Street in front of the Fitzrandolph Gates and culminating in a march through Frist Campus Center.
Yousef Elzalabany ’20 attended the protest as a way to show his solidarity with minorities, noting that the best way to deal with the current situation is by remaining engaged and respectful.
“I don’t think we should oppose him being President. The election’s over, he’s going to President. But we need to mobilize. We need to make sure that anything that is discriminatory attempting to be passed by him is obstructed,” he said.
Elzalabany said that he believes the most important thing to consider now is that “we need to heal the nation by having compassion and tolerance for one another, and that’s something that’s missing on both sides of the aisle right now.”
William Grear ’20 views the protest as a way to communicate frustrations and concerns people are experiencing now.
“To have people protesting in forms like this and disrupting public society, it has to send a message to [Trump] and to his administration that the things that they do will be met with backlash.”
He explained the choice of the language at rallies as well, stating the importance of remembering “certain things that are yelled at the protest like ‘Dump Trump,’ these are rallying cries. They are not literally saying, you know, dump Trump right now, do whatever we can to make sure he doesn’t take office. These represent the feelings and emotions of a lot of people.”
Another organizer, Alesia Yunga, stressed the importance of community moving forward after the election.
“I love everybody. I don’t know why Donald Trump wants to divide the people… We can work together… we want peace. We want to work out dreams,” Yunga said.