Chants like “not my president,” “silence is violence” and “no justice, no peace” rang throughout the quad at Stanislaus State Wednesday as students, faculty and community members gathered for a solidarity rally in the aftermath of the recent presidential election.
“The reason we wanted this rally to go on is because we wanted students to feel safe. We wanted them to know that there are other people on campus that are also a little scared about the election results,” said third year Mario Pineda, one of the rally’s organizers. “We don’t know what can happen. It’s going to be a long four years and at least we know we are together in this.”
A flyer with different campus resources was handed out to attendees during the “Stronger We Are United” rally, including contact information for StanCares, which assesses whether a student, campus community member, group or situation poses a threat, psychological counseling services, the student health center, the Student Leadership and Development Office, Stop Abuse Campaign, and University Police Department.
“There are many resources on campus in case you do encounter hate or you feel harassed or you feel bullied, which is not okay because our campus does not support hate and we are 100 percent against it,” said third year student and organizer Silvia Chairez. “You should always feel welcome on our campus.”
“We want to show that CSU Stanislaus is not a campus of hate. We want to show you that CSU Stanislaus supports diversity and unity. We want to bring all minorities together and stand up for our rights and our freedoms,” added fourth year student and organizer Fernando Hernandez. “We are going to go against hate.”
Masters of Social Work student Jennifer Morales was one speaker who led a majority of the chants during the rally on Wednesday. She criticized President-elect Donald Trump on his denial of climate change, as well as his deportation plan as she herself has had to face the fear of possible family separation. Throughout her speech, she urged Stanislaus State to become a sanctuary campus for all students and for her peers to remain vigilant in the face of injustice.
“When the electorate chooses somebody over the people’s voices that tells you who is leading the country,” said Morales. “The time is now to stand up against a system that is demeaning to us. The Democratic Party leader said we owe Donald Trump an open mind and a chance to lead. We do not owe him s**t. I do not owe a sexist, xenophobic, misogynistic, Islamophobic, racist who denies climate change any of my time.”
Stanislaus State senior Polet Hernandez spoke on Wednesday about her experiences as a DREAMer, her aspirations to become a family therapist, and her concerns about Trump’s immigration plan, which includes his intent to end Deferred Action.
“As a dreamer, I am thinking what’s going to happen to me and my family,” said Hernandez. “I am myself an undocumented student and I feel like I am a very deserving person. I try to do everything correctly. I come to school to better not only myself, but the community. I’m doing everything I can to contribute, but then there’s this man saying I am a criminal.”
Professors from the sociology and psychology departments at Stanislaus State also attended Wednesday’s rally, where they assured students that they were there to support them and that they too were affected by election results.
“All three of my beautiful kids have a heritage of immigration from Central and South America and the day after the election when my four year old heard on the radio that Donald Trump won, he asked me with tears in his eyes if that meant his momma was going to get sent away,” said sociology professor John Kincaid. “I couldn’t tell him no because I take the president seriously at his word. I take him at his word that he intends to deport.
“So if you intend to fight, I intend to fight beside you. If you intend to march, I intend to march beside you. If you intend to protest, I intend to protest beside you. This university intends to be beside you, this department intends to be beside you and these professors intend to be beside you. You are not alone,” continued Kincaid.
Also on Wednesday, Stanislaus State President Ellen Junn emailed students a statement she put together in conjunction with California Faculty Association Stanislaus president Steven Filling, California State University Employees Union Stanislaus president Dawn McCulley, speaker of the faculty Stuart Sims, and APC Stanislaus chief steward Tammy Worthington.
“Given our diversity and in light of recent events, some of us may feel uncertain, threatened, or unsafe at this very moment because of our race, ethnicity, disability, gender, orientation, undocumented status, religious beliefs or worldview,” the email stated. “As members of our community, we want each and every one of you to know that you belong, you are one of us, you are valued, and you are loved. We will work ceaselessly to ensure our campus is a safe space for you.
“Our campus is full of faculty and staff who have big hearts, available ears, sturdy shoulders, and open offices, and they are here to help students and colleagues in any way they are able. Now more than ever, we must come together, all of us -- faculty, staff, students, the entire university community -- to ensure that we remain resilient, that diversity continues to be one of our strongest attributes, that we are inclusive of every individual, and that our campus remains a safe and welcoming environment for all.”