By Ivan Cazares
Students, faculty and staff expressed discontent with President Donald Trump in a “Speak Out” rally organized by the East Los Angeles Coalition for Social Action at G3 Foyer.
Speakers expressed their opinions and presented a call to action in resistance to discrimination, hate crimes and executive orders like the travel ban.
In January, Trump signed an executive order banning refugees from entering the United States for 120 days and immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries for three months.
The order was deemed unconstitutional, incited protests across the country and was ultimately blocked by a federal judge.
A second attempt at a travel ban was signed by the president in March and is facing the same opposition. The mural “A Biography of Mexican Painting” by Raúl Anguiano’ served as the backdrop for the rally.
The mural portrays several influential Mexican figures and is symbolic of the struggles of Mestizo people. Posters around the G3 Foyer encouraged attendees to express their opinions and methods of resistance with markers.
This was inspired by the chalk art produced by East Los Angeles College students on the E3 wall the day after the election.
The crowd of about 100 people locked arms and chanted: “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love and protect one another. We have nothing to lose but our chains.” The chant was lead by an ELAC student from the Dolores Social Justice Program.
“Democracy in the United States is a guarantee of individual liberty and civil rights. We certainly see that under attack today. In my classes, I teach about fascism. What constitutes fascism is extreme nationalism—ethnocentrism that privileges on culture over another. We’re seeing that as a form of policy under the Trump administration,” political science professor Jeffrey Hernandez said.
Hernandez’s call to action was to put aside political differences.
He said people need to stay united in their resistance against Trump’s rhetoric. He added that U.S. democracy is more important than petty differences.
Sociology professor Rin Kahla encouraged attendees to build community bonds among minority groups, such as the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer, Chicano and black communities.
“I’m not suggesting we forget about our individual struggles. Start looking around you. The more we are interested in one another, the more we are connected to one another,” Calla said.
History professor Barbara Dunsheath focused on feminism and the impact Trump’s presidency can have on women’s rights. She expressed disbelief that someone who publicly boasted about groping women was elected president.
“Women issues are human issues, and human issues are women’s issues,” Dunsheath said, quoting Hillary Clinton.
American Federation of Teachers ELAC intern administrator Kenia Alocer, intern Daniel Ortiz and Genesys Sanchez collected signatures for a petition to demand a statement from ELAC President Marvin Martinez on a pro-Trump banquet that the ELAC Foundation was hosting.
Martinez canceled the banquet when confronted by Sanchez, and faculty supported her during an AFT meeting.
Earth science professor Steve Tarnoff’s call to action was for attendees to participate in the March for Science protest being organized on Earth Day on April 22.
March for Science is a global movement being led by scientists in protest of recent policies that reject scientific finds that prove climate change. Protesters in Los Angeles are meeting at Pershing Square at 9 a.m. to march to City Hall.
Attendees signed the petition that was passed around by AFT interns, interacted with one another and requested information from speakers after the rally.