We are still in the early days of the Trump administration. Every other day, the White House shoves new executive orders down the throats of the people without paying any heed to whatever he is actually signing. The figures behind Trump look to silence their opposition, much like many strong-man officials have in human history. There is still hope though, and it lays in defeating apathy and channeling the rage against the abuses of the new administration and the exploitative systems left for them to use.
I get a Facebook invite to an event, set up by the club Students Organize for Syria, called “March for Humanity.” I mark that I’m going and look to talk with the organizer before the event happens in the upcoming week. Outside of that brief click of the “going” button on the event, I pay little attention to the event for the next few days.
My thoughts are dominated by organizing and planning for our community’s plan going forward. Working as a field organizer for For Our Future, I learned the importance of connecting with all types of people and I wanted to bring this knowledge to UCF.
Another Facebook notification, this one telling me the date for the march had been changed to the next day. I panic briefly; it can’t be successful with only a day or so to organize. Several members of the Eleven-Nine Coalition and I have a fateful meeting with Amirah Mathin and Ali Khater, members of the executive board of Students Organize for Syria.
We sit down and discuss moving the date of the march back to its original day and then break down what we need to do make it big. All of us are fueled by passion; the discriminatory travel ban has sent shockwaves throughout the country, including Orlando. It was time for us to channel our anger into something that would show the world how the people in our community really feel.
On Wednesday February 8th we kicked off a march that would end with hundreds of students, faculty, and community members taking their rage and expressing it through peaceful protest. I am exhausted from the events of the day but I am still angry.
Much of the country is seething. You will commonly see calls, from many sides, for people to not be mad. They want us to sit complacently or voice our concerns quietly. I take issue with this because people are not emotionally vacant robots.
The American Revolution was not kicked off by deliberate policy considerations at calm meetings. It was kicked off by the rage of people who felt slighted, felt that they were being treated unfairly and had no recourse. Nobody throws tea off of a boat unless they have been repeatedly dismissed by those in power.
Protests, marches, town halls, and organizing to change our communities for the better are not meant to be post-election therapy. There is no time to sing kumbuya as people are being lost to immigration raids and travel bans. Love will not stop the government from trying to take away our fellow Knights and Orlandoans. The only thing that will make a difference is that we keep working and let our true feelings be known.