By Mireya Aguilar ’16
On Mar. 11, Donald Trump, Republican candidate, was supposed to hold his rally at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). However, across from the UIC pavilion and inside the pavilion, there was a crowd of over hundreds of people, who showed up to protest against Trump.
Trump spoke to law officials after arriving in Chicago and determined the rally should be postponed due to safety concerns. After the rally was postponed, a brawl erupted between the protestors and supporters. Five arrests were made and two officers were injured.
Over 50,000 people signed the Moveon.org petition to demand the officials to cancel the Trump campaign event. MoveOn is an organization filled with over 8 million Americans, which use the internet to allow Americans to have a voice in the political system. Even after so many signatures, the event was still not canceled. Many Chicagoans wanted to put a stop to it if the officials wouldn’t. MoveOn stated, “This is a student-led event dedicated to gathering a large group of people regardless of race, gender, religion, sexuality, political affiliation, etc. to unite in solidarity AGAINST the Donald Trump campaign.”
180 UIC teachers expressed that Trump’s rally will possibly inflict a dangerous environment for all the students and staff. Jorge Mena, UIC student and MoveOn member, also showed similar views to the teachers, “As an undocumented student at UIC, when I learned that Trump [would] be holding his rally on my campus, I was furious and felt extremely unsafe. Considering Trump’s anti-immigrant, anti-black, and anti-Muslim rhetoric, I heard many students also express the same concern for safety.”
Along with many other UIC students and teachers, your very own Pritzker students attended the rally, showing their support against Trump. Jorge Soto, a senior, came to protest against the ideas Trump is spreading, “No one should be allowed to say those hateful words without there being a consequence.” Soto came to the rally feeling nervous, happy, and scared, but he almost got into a fight with Trump supporters that called him offensive names and almost got escorted to a police officer’s car.
His overall experience seemed to be different than what the media portrayed. It was not all about the violence, “The media showed mostly the violent part of the protest but it was, most of the time, peaceful.” He does realize some supporters were there just to get some police angry like the media portrayed, but it did not represent all the protesters, who like him came to the rally looking for a positive change. He urges that Trump’s ideas don’t add a good change to this country, “He is thinking backwards instead of forward.” Soto adds on to the topic of Trump’s hateful words, “Trump called the protesters thugs. I guess that’s another word I can add for the words Trump has called me.”
Also, Jennifer Rivera, a junior, had similar views on the rally. She strongly believes Trump does not fit the idea of being the next president. She came to be very satisfied with her experience of the protest, “It was amazing to see how passionate these protestors were. [. . .] It was so much fun to be able to chant along with others.” However, she did deal with the Trump supporters, who seemed to be very against her views, “The trump supporters were so disrespectful. I was very disappointed to see how awful some people can be.” She argued the supporters were the ones who began the brawls. Rivera believed the media seemed to not portray that side of the Trump supporters and seemed not to take away the message the protesters were trying to make.
However, not everyone agreed with the protesters. Many argued the protesters were the cause of the violence and did not allow Trump to practice his first amendment, Freedom of Speech.
Many of Latino politicians stood side by side with the protesters such as U.S. Representative Luis V. Gutierrez, Alderman George Cardenas (12th), Alderman Raymond Lopez (15th), and Alderman Gilbert Villegas (36th).
On March 15, Republican results showed Trump won Illinois.