At 11 a.m. Friday morning, around 25 students, faculty and staff gathered in front of Boatwright Memorial Library to unite in solidarity against President Donald J. Trump’s controversial immigration ban and executive orders.
They carried posters that showed messages such as “No Justice, No Peace,” and marched toward the forum chanting, “Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here."
As they passed through Tyler Haynes Commons, they were met with applause from some students tabling inside and various other onlookers.
In the forum, the protesters stood side by side, displaying their signs for people to see as they walked past. Foot traffic picked up as the protest continued, with many pulling out their phones to record the scene.
Each protestor took a turn explaining why they came out to show their solidarity. Some had personal reasons. Others were allies who wanted to show their support for groups they felt were being discriminated against.
Senior Joshua Tucker, RC ‘17, carried a sign protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline, which he had made for use at previous marches off campus.
During the march, Tucker stirred energy within the group by leading the protest's chants.
“It's important to show solidarity with an intersection of issues and these marches are a great idea,” Tucker said. “It's terrible Trump put DAPL back on the table. It was never a good idea but it especially is not now. It shows he doesn't care about the environment and native rights.”
Rubble Kazi, RC ’20, a first year and first-generation student of immigrant parents, had a personal connection to Trump’s executive orders.
“My parents came here literally without shoes, without anything, and worked hard to make a better life for me,” Kazi said. “I'm here at the University of Richmond because of that.”
Senior Josh Young, RC ‘17, organized the march. Young was inspired by a larger solidarity march that he attended in downtown Richmond, which was organized by ResistRVA and VCU.
University of Richmond does not usually have many demonstrations or marches, but Young said he was hoping to change that.
“The culture here will not change until we change as students, first and foremost, but also faculty and staff,” Young said. “Today there were faculty, staff and administration who risked their reputations to be part of this movement. What we need is will and desire to attach to a cause despite what people think and perceive.”
The last march that happened on campus was a solidarity march in response to the presidential election last November. The organizer of that march was Ladelle McWhorter. She feels that even though the marches are unrelated, this could all be part of a new growing trend of political activism.
“People have had a better idea of organizing solidarity marches, having watching it been done once,” McWhorter said. “So much has happened in the world, especially in the United States, since November that I think lots and lots of people are getting active and mobilized for all kinds of reasons.”
Young is currently planning another solidarity march with other members of the campus community for sometime next month. More details will be released by the organizers at a later date.
Contact reporter Julia Raimondi at firstname.lastname@example.org