As many as 1,000 Syracuse University and SUNY ESF students and faculty gathered for a rally and march around campus Wednesday out of concern for what might happen under a President Donald Trump. They wanted to stand in solidarity to preserve dignity and respect for all people.
The call to action was part of a nationwide walkout from college and university classes to speak out about the fears they have. SU junior Breanna Cooper says many people don’t feel safe.
"As a marginalized person on this campus, as a black woman, I'm emotionally affected by Donald Trump's presidency," Cooper said. "I have many gay and Muslim friends who are also affected, so I feel if they're too afraid or don't feel comfortable coming out and letting their voice be heard, then I can be that voice. People are now going to feel that they can just attack them, and come for their citizenship, come for their right to love who they want to love, be who they want to be, pray to whoever they want to pray to."
SU Junior Leonardo Marino was also in the crowd.
"It's not really about me feeling victimized at all," Marino said. "So many people are afraid, and people's rights are at risk of being taken away because of who we elected president. I can't in good conscience not do anything."
SU Professor of Inclusive Education Mara Sapon-Shevin rallied the crowd.
"What does it mean to be an ally? What does it mean to have each other's backs? What does it mean to stand up for one another? What does it mean to notice injustice? What does it mean to notice that remark should not have been made? The thing I hate most is when people say, 'I probably shouldn't say this, but...'. Well, don't f*****g say it then!"
"One more thing about not accepting this as the new normal. That is the most dangerous thing that can happen, when we say, 'what can you do? It sucks.' It is not the new normal. It is a travesty. It is an abomination what happened here. We will not accept it."
Besides temporarily halting campus traffic, the march was peaceful, and seemed to fulfill the organizer’s mission to prioritize chants and visibility over messages of hate.