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Bellingham
Sunday, May 31, 2020

Students and community members swarm Red Square for student-led walkout

Students, faculty and other community members slowly started to trickle into Red Square gathering around Fisher Fountain as clock bells chimed at 2 p.m. Some carried signs, some carried flags and some came empty-handed, hoping to create a sign of their own.

The event was organized by the Socialist Alternative, an organization supporting an independent, alternative party consisting of workers, young people and fighting for the “the millions, not the millionaires.” There were speeches, rally cries and eventually a march through Bellingham.

Photo by Alex Powell

“We organized the student walkout and rally as part of a nation-wide effort to protest Trump and his agenda of hate and bigotry on his Inauguration Day.”

Kaia Gran

The leader of the walk out, Kaia Gran said the walkout was part of a bigger picture.

“We organized the student walkout and rally as part of a nation-wide effort to protest Trump and his agenda of hate and bigotry on his Inauguration Day,” Gran said. “We wanted to set the precedent that starting on day one and we are ready to engage in resistance and show that our community is an accepting and welcoming place.”

Senior Andrew Maxson was one person of the hundreds gathered in Red Square. He carried a sign stating, “Their lives are not a debate,” while he wandered around the crowd.

“This is a very intersectional movement. The Occupy Wall Street movement was purely economic,” Maxson said. “I don’t think it really addressed the problems like misogyny, racism and anti-LGBTQ sentiment that is really coming to a head now.”

Photo by Alex Powell

Maxson also pointed out that one of the reasons President Trump is so unpopular is because people believe that he is the embodiment of the systemic injustices in American society today.

While the event was aimed at denouncing Trump, a handful of Trump supporters showed up as well. Students surrounded the supporters, arguing about a variety of topics. One issue that arose was the amount of vacations former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama took.

“Obama believes in goofing off, Trump believes in work,” one Trump supporter could be heard telling a group of students who had gathered around him.

Blue group, a group supporting undocumented students, rallied as well. // Photo by Alex Powell

While there were two clear sides in Red Square, pro-Trump and anti-Trump, one person was there to spread a different message. Freshman Rich Graham was there to protest socialism.

“[My favorite part of this protest has been] looking at people who have no idea what they are advocating for,” Graham said. “I think it’s hypocritical for people to advocate for a democracy until somebody gets voted in that they disagree with.”

Another student participating in the anti-Trump movement was senior Audrey Faunce.

“I want to protest the injustices Trumps inauguration supplies,” Faunce said. “[My favorite part of this protest is] the solidarity and the different people who are coming out for different reasons. Even if we don’t agree on everything, we agree that something has to be done.”

Photo by Alex Powell

The event even brought out people such as a man going by the name of “The Prophet of Doom,” wearing a poncho, no shoes, carrying a sign that read “The End is Near” and wearing an aluminum hat on his head.

The rally in Red Square ended within two hours of starting when event organizer Kaia Grand encouraged everyone to join the march that lead protesters all the way to downtown Bellingham. Students held signs that read “Build the resistance against Trump,” and “Resist Trump.”

Buses and cars pulled to the side of the road while the group of students walked through the streets chanting slogans such as “Love trumps hate,” “Black lives matter” and “We are unstoppable, a better world is possible.”

Photo by Alex Powell

Photo by Alex Powell

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