By Leah Jones, Features Editor
As hate crimes proliferate across the United States in the wake of the election of Donald Trump, many Clinton supporters and Anti-Trump activists from the University of Missouri-St. Louis and St. Louis community at large mourned, shared their emotions and experiences, and protested the results of the election on November 11 at Washington University’s Danforth Center on Mudd Field.
Members of the Washington University and Saint Louis University community organized the peaceful rally, which was part of a national movement called #LoveStillTrumpsHate. According to the event’s Facebook page, Liz Doyan, Craig Yugawa, Joy Kudia, and Aron Elizabeth hosted the event. Other cities across the United States including Boston and New York City held sister rallies using the same hashtag, which was taken from Hillary Clinton’s final campaign speech in Raleigh, North Carolina on Monday night.
According to the event’s Facebook page, 1600 RSVP’ed for the rally, despite dipping temperatures. The goal of the event was to provide support for the communities targeted by Trump’s racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-Muslim, and ableist rhetoric. On the event’s Facebook page, they stated that they hoped to “Let marginalized communities know that we all will continue to support them and love them. Spread love and peace through the country, and help start the movement #LoveStillTrumpsHate.”
Activists milled through Mudd Field carrying various signs advocating for different marginalized groups. One such sign read, “Nasty Women Fight For Their Rights,” referring to Trump’s accusation that Clinton was a “nasty woman.” Others sported rainbows in support of the LGBQT+ community.
The event featured a diverse group of speakers from around St. Louis. Kat Scott, a film and gender studies major at Webster University, read her poem about gender neutral bathrooms. “I encourage everyone to protect the safe spaces of love,” she said.
Other speakers called people to action and to protest the president-elect. Attendees participated in rounds of chanting phrases such as “I believe that we will win.”
Sarah Watson, a second-year law student at Washington University, concluded the formal events of the evening by reading Maya Angelou’s “Still I Rise.” “It is a poem that has given me inspiration in many ways,” she said.
Watson’s voice rang out over the crowd as she read Angelou’s poignant words. “You may shoot me with your words, You may cut me with your eyes, You may kill me with your hatefulness. But still, like air, I’ll rise,” she recited.
Watson also said, “I am also here to say that we are not backing down. Even though we will not perpetuate hate, we will not accept it either…So, to president Trump, I say, ‘It ain’t over.’”
Watson finished speaking at 5:45 p.m., but since the event sought to provide marginalized voices with a place to be heard, many informal speakers took the podium and spoke after the event concluded.
While the rally gave a marginalized voices a space in which to speak, some believed that this was not enough. UMSL MFA student Jessie Eikmann said, “In my humble opinion, the rally didn’t give me anything constructive in terms of what our next steps should be in the wake of Republican tyranny. I was expecting a lot of organizations to show up and say, ‘These are the things on our agenda and here’s how we might go about advocating for these things.’ But mostly it was just students and community members wanting to sing ‘We shall come overcome together before the onslaught.’ I think that what I got out of it is a reminder that we have to all throw ourselves into grassroots activism and no one can afford to sit on the sidelines anymore. We need all the foot soldiers we can get.”
Other rallies and events are planned at various venues across St. Louis in the upcoming week. A peaceful march in downtown St. Louis on Sunday at Citygarden was planned for 2 p.m.