BY MATTHEW HALL
Daily Press Editor
Hundreds of students protested on California campuses Wednesday following Donald Trump’s presidential victory.
Students at Santa Monica College and Santa Monica High School staged impromptu walkouts Wednesday with many students citing feelings of danger created by Trump’s candidacy and the need to defend minorities against the threat of future discrimination.
While some students heard about the protest through social media or word of mouth, others were drawn by the commotion.
Enrique Ipina said he heard the noise and said he felt a sense of shared helplessness among the crowd.
He said Californians feel disenfranchised after seeing Trump secure victory across so much of the country and that the Presidential outcome overshadowed what should have been celebratory feelings around raising cigarette taxes or discussions about legalization of marijuana.
Ipina said he was struggling to find a way to have an impact on the future outcomes of a Trump Presidency.
“The one thing we could do was vote and we did,” he said. Statewide, about 60 percent of Californians voted for Hillary Clinton compared to 34 percent for Trump.
Summer Sandhu said the protest allowed students to connect to each other. “You could see people sharing their personal stories and hear how that will change,” she said. Sandhu said Trump’s presidency would prompt a new wave of activism among young residents.
“I would like to see how we can combat what he is dishing out and really what can we do to combat him. We haven’t had to do that in a while.”
Edgar Gonzalez organized the SMC protest through his Home Boys and Home Girls club. The organization provides support for college students who are first generation students, previously incarcerated, recovering from addiction or otherwise in need of a safe space.
“If we look sad, stay sad and don’t speak up, nothing is going to happen,” he said. “Nothing is going to change.” He said he has seen the power of educated protests through his work supporting the $15 minimum wage and that the Fight for $15 movement overcame significant inertia to become the law of the land.
In this case, he said youth have a particular interest in mobilizing because they will be more heavily impacted by Trump’s policies and that it is important for young residents to channel their energy into social causes.
“This is the only way to spread awareness,” he said. “If we don’t take action, (students) don’t feel motivated or inspired.” Protests also erupted on other college campuses.
Police says at least 500 people swarmed on streets in and around UCLA early Wednesday morning, some shouting antiTrump expletives. There were no immediate arrests. Smaller demonstrators were held at University of California campuses and neighborhoods in Berkeley, Irvine and Davis and at San Jose State.
In Oakland, more than 100 protesters took to downtown streets. KNTV-TV reported that protesters burned Trump in effigy, smashed windows of the Oakland Tribune newsroom and set tires and trash on fire. The California Highway Patrol says a woman was struck by a car during the protest and severely injured. Students at Santa Monica High School also staged a walkout.
“Earlier today, several hundred Samohi students left class and gathered at the campus Greek Amphitheatre to peacefully protest their disappointment with the results of the election for US President,” said District spokeswoman Gail Pinsker.
“The students were chanting and speaking to each other and to administrators and staff who encouraged students to share their feelings, while keeping calm. Restorative Justice Coordinator Rob Howard, ASB President Brandon Hall-Pascascio, and Principal Dr. Antonio Shelton addressed the group acknowledging their feelings and encouraged these students to go back to class to share their thoughts and discuss in smaller groups. Dr. Shelton provided teachers with some suggested dialogue points so the students could freely share their thoughts and concerns in class.”
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS AND MARINA ANDALON CONTRIBUTED TO THIS REPORT