On the day of Donald Trump’s inauguration, over 40 Mount Allison students gathered at the Wallace McCain Student Centre in solidarity with all those affected by his presidency and harmful rhetoric. The students opposed to Trump’s hateful promises and statements cited the racist, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic, classist, ableist and sexist overtones in his campaign as the reasons for their participation.
Ali Simbanegavi, a second-year student, said that events such as this anti-Trump rally are important, as they help foster awareness of social issues. “Even though we’re not in the United States, we’re still very much affected by what goes on there,” she said. She also said the rally was an important community-building event that bolstered support for those who are impacted by Trump’s election.
The organizers of the event, Olivia Landry and Shannon Power, gave brief speeches about the importance of supporting each other moving forward and detailed the problematic nature of Trump’s presidency.
Second-year student Derek Sharp noted the unprecedented level of influence the media has had on the election and suggested that it will increase in the coming years. “Everything he’s going to be doing now is under the spotlight,” he said. “If you can defeat the lies, you can defeat him. I think that’s the only way to defeat someone like him. You have to challenge him – you have to tell him, ‘you’re wrong.’”
Fourth-year student Emily Baker believes that many of us are just now coming to terms with discrimination that millions of people have experienced throughout their lives. “If it’s just hitting me now, I can’t imagine how people who’ve been marginalized for their entire lives have felt during this. I can’t imagine the amount of pain and suffering that they are going through.”
Robin Bamber, a third-year student, said that while Sackville used to make her feel safe, it no longer does. Citing an increase in the local support for Trump via the infamous “Make America Great Again” hats and a growing acceptance of discriminatory opinions, Bamber said, “even though it’s a small town, I’m realizing that there’s more hate than I realized there was.”