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Chicago Inauguration Protests Begin With Student Walkouts

By aaroncynic in News on Jan 20, 2017 6:47PM

As inauguration protests in Washington, DC heated up early this morning, students at schools across the Chicago area also prepared to stage walkouts and join larger marches happening downtown later today.

About 200 UIC students walked out beginning at 10:30 a.m. this morning and assembled for a rally on the quad of the school. Many carried signs reading “sanctuary campus now” as the crowd chanted “Donald Trump has got to go!” Our photographer Tyler LaRiviere was there to capture some of the scenes.

Like many who have organized and participated in protests since election day and even prior students said rhetoric from the newly sworn in president and his administration has made many feel unsafe and concerned for their futures.

“There’s so many things that are terrifying,” said Jaylene Morrison. “What he’s going to do as far as schooling and repealing Obamacare/the Affordable Care Act. So many people depend on his decision and their lives might be ruined.”

In addition to also being concerned about the repeal of the ACA and Trump’s stance’s on education, which include nominating Betsy Davos , a billionaire Republican with limited experience in public education that has strongly advocated for education privatization efforts for Secretary of Education, student Eric Dirks said that the rhetoric coming from the Trump administration was terrifying.

“His hate speech is terrifying—it incites violence everywhere and makes people think any racist bigotry or behavior of any sort is alright and puts a lot of people in danger,” said Dirks.

Juan Rojas, a member of Student and Graduate Awareness, the group that organized the demonstration, said that they hoped the protests would mobilize people into action.

“We want to take the awareness we know that UIC students have for a lot of the issues that are going to be prevalent in the next four years and turn it into action,” said Rojas. He added:

“It’s hard to summarize (which issues are the most important) because it’s a sweeping variety. One key point though is that Trump is not interested in being a president for all of us. He’s shown that in his 100 day agenda, his cabinet picks, the policies he pushes and how he ran his campaign. If he’s not going to work for all of us, we’re going to work for ourselves and make change happen.”

Towards the end of the demonstration, a handful of Trump loyalists attempted to agitate the protesters, who chanted them down with “not my President.”

Meanwhile, several other student groups across Chicagoland are planning walkouts throughout the day. The Chicago Student’s Union is calling for Chicago Public Schools Students to walkout after 7th period. “The nomination of vastly unqualified cabinet members like Betsy DeVos and the President's promises to deport their undocumented brothers and sisters has sparked widespread resistance,” the group said in a morning press release.

Students at Glenbard East High School in suburban Lombard also plan to walk out shortly before 1 p.m., and will later host a rally and march after school at 2:30 p.m.

Many of those who participated in the walkouts say they will join marches and rallies downtown this afternoon, one of which begins in Daley Plaza at 3:00 p.m.