An anti-Donald Trump rally held Wednesday in the Free Speech Area attracted about 40 students and local activists.
The rally was put together to protest comments and policy positions of businessman and hopeful presidential candidate Trump.
Junior Miguel Bueno, math and economics major, organized the rally with the help of Students for Reproductive Justice, Muslim Student Association, United Student Pride and other groups.
“The rally is really for people to express their anger and frustration with the amount of approval and acceptance that Donald Trump’s rhetoric has obtained,” Bueno said. “Specifically, his anti-religious, his anti-ethnic rhetoric – rhetoric against women, rhetoric against Mexicans, specifically, rhetoric against Muslims.”
Senior and sociology major Ashley Flowers attended the “Dump Trump” protest as a member of Women’s Alliance, a feminist student organization.
“This is basically our way of doing a peaceful protest of a sort against Donald Trump’s rhetoric of hate,” Flowers said. “We just want to empower people to stand up to a lot of the negative, bigoted comments he’s made.”
Trump has faced criticism from many for comments he has made since formally announcing his campaign in June 2015.
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” Trump said in his speech announcing his candidacy. “They’re sending people that have lots of problems … They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
Bueno said the protest came about out of frustration that he and the leaders of several student groups felt.
“Several student organizations felt as though their groups and they had been personally attacked by Trump during his campaign,” Flowers said. “Of course, we know Donald Trump has a tendency to make negative comments about women.”
Trump comments about Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly and former presidential candidate Carly Fiorina drew criticism from women’s groups as being sexist.
Criticism in recent days increased after Trump suggested that if abortion were made illegal, women should be punished for aborting a pregnancy. Trump later backed off those comments.
Bueno said this was the first time he’d been inspired to express his political opinions this publicly.
“I do, of course, have my own political ideology and my own political opinions,” he said. “But I’ve never really expressed them in a strong way.
“However, I really felt as though – and I’m glad this is shared amongst many people – now is the time to speak out because we essentially have people putting their faith in a demagogue who spews so much anti-religious, anti-ethnic rhetoric.”
Bueno said the location of the protest had a symbolic element to it.
“We really want to have it here in the Free Speech Area, more so as a way to express our values and in front of the Peace Garden,” he said. “Martin Luther King and Mohandas Gandhi fought for ethnic and religious acceptance, and to think we’ve come so far just for the same hate to be spewed again really says a lot.”