By Emily Williams, Managing Editor
“Show me what democracy looks like!”
“This is what democracy looks like!”
On Saturday afternoon, Miami University students joined about 1,000 protesters gathered in Cincinnati for two different causes — a call for justice for Sam DuBose and opposition to the rhetoric of president-elect Donald Trump. Over the course of the afternoon, the protests merged to mixed results.
Anna Lucia Feldmann, a senior social justice major, is participating in Miami’s Over-the-Rhine residency program this semester. For the internship component of the program, Feldmann has been working at the Contact Center in Over-the-Rhine, an organization that has been helping low-income Cincinnati residents for about 50 years. During her time in the program, Feldmann said, she has been able to get involved in the city’s Black Lives Matter movement.
At around 11 a.m. it was announced that the murder trial for Ray Tensing, a former University of Cincinnati police officer who shot Sam DuBose on a traffic stop in July 2015, had gone to a mistrial. By 12:30 p.m., a group of protesters had gathered outside of the courthouse.
“All of Cincinnati has been holding their breath waiting for the verdict of the trial,” Feldmann said.
Although Feldmann said that many of the anti-Trump protesters joined in the chants of the Black Lives Matter protesters, some of them continued their chants of, “Love trumps hate.”
“I know that people who were feeling extremely angry about the hung jury were feeling a little spoken over,” Feldmann said.
Emma English, a sophomore, said that her family was nervous about her participating in the protest because of the pending Tensing trial verdict, but was relieved the protests remained peaceful. As an RA, English said it was difficult at times to keep a neutral mindset in her residence hall during the election.
“The day after the election, I was really mad and wanted to do something about it,” English said. “I saw everything happening around the country and wanted to show people that I am serious about my beliefs.”
Junior Raechel Root came to Fountain Square in downtown Cincinnati on Saturday to participate in the anti-Trump protest, but she, like the rest of the crowd of hundreds, joined the Black Lives Matter protest in front of the courthouse.
Root and her friends had found out about the protests through friends and a Facebook group, “Peaceful Protest to Stop Trump in Cincinnati.”
Jordan Hallbauer, a junior, met up with a group of her friends before the protest to make signs. The words on their signs, “Defy trickle-down misogyny,” “Defy trickle-down bigotry,” and, “Defy trickle-down racism,” were quoted from a Mitt Romney interview in June.
“We want people to be aware of how people take Trump’s words,” Hallbauer said. “Using Romney’s words, we wanted to show that this doesn’t have to be a partisan issue.”
One of the most interesting parts of participating in the protest, Hallbauer and Root said, was seeing the reactions of people driving by in their cars, walking past on the streets or peeking out of windows. Some onlookers even joined the march. People gave affirmative shouts as the protesters passed. Others sat in front of their steering wheels with their eyes fixed straight ahead.
After the protests had merged, the group marched to Washington Park, where some of the leaders of the Black Lives Matter group stood in the gazebo at the center of the park, leading call-and-response chants like, “No justice, no peace, no racist police.”
The goal of anti-Trump protests like this weekend’s demonstration in Cincinnati isn’t about being in denial about Trump’s election to the presidency, Hallbauer said. These protests show that there are people who will not accept Trump’s messages and intend to keep him accountable when is president, she said.
“I think [protesting] humanizes these issues,” she said. “By protesting and having people in the streets, it gives a face and voice to people who are really afraid of what will happen to them. A moving and speaking group resisting marginalization in a really real way creates a sense of solidarity.”
Root said one of the reasons there haven’t been any protests in Oxford is that there was a stronger focus on self-care. Root also noted that support for Trump has been very visible on Miami’s campus and in the surrounding community throughout the election season.
After last Tuesday’s result, President Crawford called on the Student Counseling Center to host an event where students and faculty could openly discuss their reactions to the election.
She also noted her concern that people have devalued anti-Trump protests by dismissing the protesters as simply being disappointed over Hillary Clinton’s loss.
“Trump isn’t just another bad president,” Root said. “He’s unacceptable.”
Hallbauer said that, although an organized anti-Trump event has not been held in Oxford since the election result, there have been conversations about holding a peaceful convergence soon.
“I think this election is inspiring a lot of young people to activism,” Root said. “People are meeting people at protests. They’re building a community.”
Another anti-Trump protest is planned for this Saturday, Nov. 19, from 1 to 5 p.m. in Fountain Square in downtown Cincinnati. Another Black Lives Matter demonstration will be held in Cincinnati on Saturday, Feldmann said, but the location has not been determined.