Boston Students Walk Out of Class to Protest Donald Trump

They called on state and city officials to oppose the president-elect and his policies.

 

bps walkout 12-5

Photo courtesy of Adam Gaffin

Students from Boston schools walked out of class Monday to protest the presidency and policies of Donald Trump, and to call on state leaders to more actively oppose him.

They left school, against the urging of Mayor Marty Walsh and Superintendent Tommy Chang, around 1 p.m., and marched to Boston Common and Government Center leading chants of “the youth united will never be defeated” and “dump Trump.”

.@bostonpolice blocking traffic on one side of Beacon St. as students gather at State House #TrumpRally pic.twitter.com/0z0awa3Zs8

— Bernice Corpuz (@BerniceWBZ) December 5, 2016

Many of the students, who hailed from area high schools and colleges, also made their way inside the State House and City Hall, unsuccessfully seeking an audience with Walsh and Gov. Charlie Baker.

The students railed against Trump’s campaign promises that target immigrants and Muslims. They also called for support for those fighting the North Dakota Access Pipeline project, new “sanctuary” protections for immigrants now at increased risk of deportation or harassment by police, and they singled out for criticism Trump Cabinet members and his chief strategist, Steve Bannon, the ex-leader of Breitbart, the fringe news site that has served as a breeding ground for white nationalism.

“Donald J. Trump will be the next president of the United States and we have the right to protest and stand together against the inexcusable statements he has made about, and the harmful policies he promises to enact against, immigrants, Muslims, black Americans, the disabled, the LGBTQ+ community and women,” reads the description on a Facebook page for the event. “WALK-OUT on Monday, December 5th to send a loud and clear message to Donald J. Trump and to ensure our local elected officials commit to protecting and uplifting all residents of Massachusetts for the next four years.”

Superintendent Chang, before the protest, had urged students not to leave class.

“I want you to know that your voice matters,” Chang says in a video posted to Twitter. “I encourage you to use that voice and I encourage you to use that voice on campus. Have dialogue with your peers and with adults that care so deeply about you.”

Hundreds of students walked out of class twice this year, hoping to pressure city leaders not to cut funding for schools.

Both Walsh and Baker have, in varying degrees, responded the problem of a Trump presidency for Massachusetts—a deep blue state with a progressive track record, and one of two states where not a single county went for the Republican in the November election. Walsh pledged that his city would not “compromise our values” while Trump occupies the White House. Baker, a Republican who expressed concerns about Trump as a candidate and said he wouldn’t vote for him, has nevertheless stressed he wants to cooperate with the new administration and find common ground—for example on infrastructure projects—and has taken a wait-and-see approach on the next four years.

More scenes from today’s protest:


Spencer Buell Staff Writer at Boston Magazine sbuell@bostonmagazine.com