Demonstration for ‘Wall of Love’

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11/10/16 Wall of Love

Cameron Gorman

The Ohio Student Association (OSA) at Kent State hosted a post-election demonstration Wednesday night after Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s victory.

“(The idea) really came at (2 a.m. in the morning),” said Grace Goodluck, a junior political science major and Kent State OSA co-chair. ”We were all just talking, and we were upset and we didn’t know what to do.”

Goodluck said the group decided they couldn’t just be angry and had to be together as a community. 

Students gathered as the sun set on the front of campus, armed with cans of spray paint, candles and hand warmers for the cold weather. The group painted the rock with the newly popular phrase “Not Our President,” used on social media by those dissatisfied with Trump’s win.

“It felt like I was punched in the stomach,” said Andrew Keiper, a junior journalism major. “It felt like there wasn’t a whole lot of hope, and I felt very, very small in the face of something like this — in the face of such violent, bigoted, racist rhetoric being chosen into power.”

Although temperatures dipped in the 40s, those in attendance remained around the rock, fashioned into a “wall of love.”

“We want activism because we need to create the change for ourselves,” Goodluck said. “We can’t just let this happen to us, and so we are trying to build coalitions.”

Those gathered also shared chants, songs and thoughts through a megaphone as others painted. They later lit candles as the night wore on.

“I am very, very upset about the election … about the results. I was brought up (in) a household that supported love, and I believed for years that there’s liberty and justice for all,” said Kyle Burnett, a senior theater studies major. “I don’t feel like there’s (sic) liberty and justice for all this day.”

Burnett said he’s afraid of what the future will be like. He carried a homemade sign reading “Free Hugs.”

“I’ve been going around today on my class breaks, giving people hugs, and there have been people coming up to me crying giving me hugs,”Burnett said. 

Trump is already facing major backlash on social media by those who feel his policies are regressive.

“I was stunned. I guess I shouldn’t have been, but I was really extraordinarily surprised. I never expected that there was this much divisiveness and hate,” said Vicki Bocchicchio, director of the Honors College academic programs.

Bocchicchio was a Clinton supporter during the election. She said she felt that attending the event was a show of support for students she knew through the university.

“I think right now it’s the least we can do, and as we move forward and see how things really unfold,” Bocchicchio said. “There may be more strategic things to do, but I think right now … just showing each other support and recognizing that we’re not alone is the least we could do.”

Cameron Gorman is a diversity reporter, contact her at [email protected]