The idea of a future after the inauguration of President Donald Trump brought students and community members together with the same question: “What do we do now?”
In hopes of providing a forum for community members to voice their concerns, Western’s Socialist Alternative discussed how to move forward during a public meeting Thursday, Jan. 26.
Addressing an audience of around 40 people, Socialist Alternative organizer, Kaia Gran, said the idea of actively becoming involved in issues should be considered a real option.
“We want to show people our power lies in our numbers, in our ideas and in our effective strategy,” Gran said. “It is so important to know you have power and a voice, and to use it.”
The Socialist Alternative is an organization that has worked to create activist events on Western’s campus, such as a student walk-out in response to Trump’s inauguration.
The group is built on the idea that the capitalist system is the source of oppression and other social issues, according to the group’s website. One of the concepts supported by the group is providing a third-party option.
Discussion of an additional third party dominated a portion of the group conversation and received various reactions from listeners throughout the room. At the conclusion of the meeting, it was clear emotions were running high.
During the meeting, one audience member said the discussions didn’t offer an immediate course of action to deal with Trump’s presidency.
Jenny Duncan, a Sedro Woolley resident, said having meetings like this help to bring people together and raise awareness so people can approach their differences and commonalities.
“Everyone feels they want to do something but they don’t know what they want to do.”
The first step should be focusing on creating conversations based on common values, Duncan said.
“It’s about not talking political, but talking about something we agree upon. Not talking about right or left, but talking about an issue and coming together and not labeling it,” Duncan said.
The idea of having the energy to act, but the lack of a next step was shared by Bellingham resident Ty Campbell, who commented on this feeling among audience members.
“I feel like it is their first time after the Women’s March getting together and trying to talk about things,” Campbell said. “So there’s confusion going on and all sorts of little hiccups, but I think it’s important to begin the process in creating a stronger resistance to what Trump embodies.”
While no clear decisions were made during this two-hour discussion, people were given the opportunity to share their ideas and concerns, something Gran said is a good place to begin.
“There is a lot of work to be done no matter what, we will always have work ahead of us, but whatever first steps that we can take are always good. This was a great second step to get people involved and excited,” Gran said.
This was the first of a series of weekly meetings the Socialist Alternative will be holding on campus. The discussion next week will focus on the environment and is scheduled to take place at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 2 in Academic West, room 203.