A large group of students could be seen marching down Academic Row late at night this past week, holding an array of signs and chanting in unison. The group, partaking in a UMBC Anti Hate Protest, joined together as a result of the outcome of the election on Tuesday.
The movement began when Mai-Han Trinh contacted Zack Gryzwacz regarding her idea to have an anti-hate protest. She was not getting many responses from student organizations, so she was considering just dropping the event altogether. Eventually, UMBC Amnesty, Mai-Han Trinh, Zack Grzywacz and others decided to just go through with the event regardless of what the turnout would be. They created the event five hours before it occurred.
The anti-hate protest, according to the Facebook event, stated that after the results of Tuesday evening’s election, “It is clear that the nation is divided.” It went on to claim that, “Many marginalized groups present throughout our country (and especially the campus of UMBC) fear for their safety and their future in the USA given the current political climate.”
The post asked social media recipients to “Join us at five outside of our library as we come together in a peaceful act of solidarity, showing UMBC that we will remain united and we will protect one another, no matter who’s holding public office.”
During the event, people came and made their own signs promoting peace, with sayings such as, “Peace not parties” and “Live 4 love.” They then marched from the library to the administration building, chanting sayings such as “Peace, Love, All of the above!”
Once there, they marched back and people gathered to share their own thoughts in front of the library.
From what Zack Grzywacz saw during the protest, “People had a sense of empowerment while they were marching. I think we realized our power as citizens, as the young people in this nation, we realized that our voice matters.”
“On-campus groups like UMBC Amnesty will continue to fight for the rights of marginalized communities everywhere,” Grzywacz stated.
Feitian Ma, a junior, went to the protest and expressed her opinion regarding the event.
“I thought it was nice to come together and peacefully unite with love and hope, while not dismissing the legitimate fear and anger that people have. I think it was a way for a lot of people to say, ‘Hey we’re here for you’ to everyone while also going along with ‘Love trumps hate.’ ”
She added, “I think it was also nice to for people to have a space at the end of the walking portion to speak about their feelings. For a quickly planned protest that did not intend to talk about any individual political figures or even opinions, but rather to spread awareness and love for those who need it, I think the protest went fine.”
Jamie Alexander, a sophomore, spoke at the event by reading a poem they wrote, and proceeded to talk about their thoughts on the protest.
“Speaking up and acting in a way that supports the disenfranchised is directly linked to my core; this is why I found this event and events like it, so necessary. Everyone, regardless of their background should respond to these happenings with empathy. However, empathy requires action and I can’t stress this enough. That said, I think that there was a rhetoric at this event that I can’t affix my name to-hardship must be recognized. Hate must be defamed. Doing anything less would be playing into the same feelings that lead to political hopelessness.”
“Now is not for pleasantries, nor is it the time for accusation. Consider the pain in the lives of those around you and act upon it. Speak directly out against it. Silence opposes liberation,” Alexander concluded.