Growing up, I always thought about how cool it would be to have lived through the ’60s: to be a part of a revolution, to have a voice for change.
Though that dream was something I frequented, it was also fleeting. I never thought our country could return to a state of such unrest and displeasure, that the only way for underrepresented voices to be heard was through protest.
I, for one, thought wrong.
Since Tuesday night’s presidential election, unrest has broken out across the country with protests and marches dominating major cities and college campuses—including this university—and while some choose to follow, others choose to lead.
For sophomore letters and sciences major Olivia Antezana, a Trump presidency frightened her and left her withfeelings of isolation, a reaction that inspired the organization of an inaugural protest, “Not My President,” set to take place in Washington, D.C., Friday, Jan. 20.
“As I was watching the election results Tuesday night, I felt really scared. I felt really isolated,” Antezana said. “It concerned me that this is what the majority of the nation chose, yet there is a group of [people I know] who have the same ideals I do and feel differently.”
“What scares me the most is that his rhetoric has so much influence across the nation,” she continued.
Antezana’s Facebook event, which has already accumulated 68,000 people “interested” and 19,000 “going” as of Nov. 15, is intended to grab the attention of the nation and unite those in opposition to the president-elect by silently protesting his ceremonial swearing into office.
Attendees are encouraged to bring t-shirts and signs depicting the hashtag #NotMyPresident, and those who are unable to attend are urged to use the hashtag on social media to raise awareness to the movement.
“My main goal is simply to get the attention of the nation and the president-elect,” Antezana said. “We’re not asking the U.S. government to impeach Donald Trump. We want to make it clear that we don’t support Donald Trump and to make it clear that him being elected president is not representative of the entire country.”
The level of interest expressed in the protest surprised Antezana, though she credits this generation’s attention to social media as a significant factor.
“I definitely didn’t anticipate that,” she said. “I more expected 500 people. That was definitely surprising for me.”
In times like these, Antezana strongly values her First Amendment rights and urges others to do the same.
“They are extremely vital,” she said. “Many countries don’t give their people a right to assemble or a right of opposition. [For] people who join in protests like this, it is important to be grateful for those rights because we can do it.”
In regard to the other protests occurring across the nation, Antezana encourages fellow protesters to remain peaceful and nonviolent in their expression of opposition.
“Don’t resort to violence,” she said. “Don’t let people get to you. Right now, the most important thing is to be peaceful in what we do and what we say.”
Antezana also reminds those feeling discouraged that they are not alone in this fight.
“You are not alone,” she said. ” There are plenty of people out there who want to protect each other.”
Featured Photo Credit: Olivia Antezana, 19, created a Facebook event for a Trump protest that quickly gained the attention of thousands. (Miranda Rosen/Bloc Photographer)
Jordan Stovka is a sophomore journalism major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.