Gathering in Solidarity, Students Call for Action

Art project inspires rally for support, healing, and moving forward

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The rally began with three women, Bryana Espinoza, Angela Riley and Sara Nune, standing in Quarry Plaza on Nov. 9. Each student was naked except for a single piece of underwear and the messages scrawled in ink across their bodies.

The display was an art project created by Espinoza, a second-year psychology and art major.

“I wanted to visually represent the weight of [Trump’s] words, the effect of what he says is physically wearing on us,” Espinoza said. “I know all we’re wearing is ink, but I have almost cried so many times throughout the process […] as a community, it’s hurting everyone.”

Trump’s divisive rhetoric towards underrepresented communities has fomented bigotry and hatred within the nation of the past several months, Nune said. All of which was emblazoned with the legitimacy of the presidential seal after his election to the highest office in the land.

Shortly after 4 p.m., a crowd of around 60 began to gather around Espinoza, Nune and Riley. After a few moments, the trio initiated a rallying chant, “love trumps hate.”

The chant soon reverberated through Quarry Plaza as the crowd leant their voices in solidarity. The chant began to die down after about a minute, and in its place rose discourse where students voiced how the election affected them and planned for future action.

“As a woman, I don’t feel safe anymore,” said Savannah Wadsworth, a fourth-year sociology and philosophy major.

Many others of different backgrounds and identities echoed her sentiment, voicing the fear they felt for their friends, family or themselves.

“I’m fucking angry […] and I’m fucking afraid that my country elected someone like Donald Trump to represent them and I fear for all of my friends — all of my friends who are people of color, all of my friends who are minorities, all of my friends who are women,” Nune said.

Nune continued by cautioning against succumbing to resignation, urging the crowd instead to reach out and tap into the power of their community to organize and take direct action. Her demand for action was quickly echoed by Dominique Mayden, a fourth-year psychology and sociology major, who called for students to organize and march downtown.

Rocio Payan, a fourth-year feminist studies major, expressed concern for the number of people in marginalized communities who cast their vote for Trump.

“I understand racism is a huge issue, in no way am I denying that,” Payan said. “But we also have to interrogate why there are reasons why people who are brown people, who suffer from Trumps rhetoric, are supporting him.”

According to the New York Times, 8 percent of black voters voted for Trump. Trump also won 29 percent of the Latinx vote, 2 percent more than Mitt Romney in 2012, as well as 42 percent of women voters from all backgrounds.

The rally ended with a final call to action. The crowd organized a march downtown for Nov. 11 at 5 p.m.

“There needs to be a plan of action. Last night, I was here and we were like, ‘let’s go downtown,’” said Dominique Mayden. “There was no plan of action for getting downtown, we could have blocked off the streets, we could have had cars follow us, we could have been safe… we need to go off campus and disrupt that normal life. We’re in a bubble.”

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Sean D. Ross is editor for the City News desk at City on a Hill Press. Previously, Sean served as an editor for the Investigative News desk and as a reporter for the Campus, City and Sports desks over the past two years. Before coming to UC Santa Cruz, he was News Editor for the Diablo Valley College Inquirer, contributing to the Inquirer earning the Journalism Association of Community Colleges’ “General Excellence” award at the 2016 Northern California Conference. For his coverage of California fires in the fall of 2017, Sean was awarded third prize in the California College Media Association’s Breaking News competition. Sean is pursuing a career in law, and has interned for renowned California attorney James M. Wagstaffe. Besides casually browsing LexisNexis, Sean enjoys board games of all stripes, competitive Magic: the Gathering, playing the french horn, automotive racing and the literary stylings of Neil Gaiman.