In an act of solidarity and a call for ‘peace and love’ following Tuesday’s presidential election results, 500 South Eugene High School Students joined University of Oregon students in the EMU amphitheater on Wednesday before marching through the streets of Eugene.
At noon, 200 University of Oregon students representing a range of campus organizations and communities gathered to reflect on Tuesday’s post-election protests, voice their concerns over President-elect Donald Trump and encourage students to convert frustration into involvement. At 12:45 p.m., the collective group marched downtown to Kesey Square with a UOPD escort.
Margaret Butler of the UO Young Democratic Socialists opened the forum by saying that students needed a time and space to be angry, “but also need to be there for each other.” She passed around a contact list, asking students to include the causes they wanted to support.
Students from a range of campus communities, including the Women’s Center, LGBTQ office under the Dean of Students, the Multicultural Center and the Peer Advising Office, shared locations where students troubled by the election results might find support and resources.
“We’re here if you need someone to talk to,” said a student from the Peer Advising Office.
Students unaffiliated with any campus organizations also stepped up to share their thoughts and hopes for moving forward.
“We’re all angry as hell, but let’s be smart about it. Don’t use violence,” one student said. He called for students to use an anti-violence hotline if they spotted something harmful.
Another addressed the females in the audience, explaining that she wasn’t the only one uncomfortable with Trump’s comments towards women. “I’ll personally give you my phone number if you want to talk,” she said. “Please know you’re not alone.”
The student comments were halted as a mass of 500 South Eugene High School students marched up 13th Avenue, chanting, “What do we want? Peace and love. When do we want it? Now.”
They congregated in the center of the amphitheater with signs and megaphone, explaining the purpose of their walk-out: To voice their frustration with the election results as a group who couldn’t vote.
“At 6:58 a.m. I called our Senior class president Rosemary Williams very distressed, and I asked her, ‘Do you want to stage a walk-out?’ ” said one of the organizers, Vanessa Lopez. “We were way too passionate about this issue to just stand by.”
As UO and high school students marched downtown together, members of the greater Eugene community stepped out of businesses and apartment complexes to watch. Some chanted along. Some were so touched by the youth’s support that they broke out in tears.
“As a member of the LGBT community both being gay and trans, as well as being a minority, this is actually really moving to me,” said Eugene resident Moe Tarhuni. Seeing youth express their views “is really beautiful to me, and it makes me happy to the point of tears.”
Desiree Bergstrom contributed reporting.