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Anti-Trump protests erupt throughout city

Written By Chloe Jakiela, News Photo Editor

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Photo by Chloe Jakiela
Katelyn Walker, senior cinema production student at Point Park, listens to fellow community members speak their minds about the election at a vigil in Market Square Wednesday night, Nov 9.

Following Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential election, students and members of the community took to the streets downtown and in Oakland to voice their opinions through events such as protests and a candle-lit vigil.

“This is a really pivotal time where there is only so much we can do, and one of those things is take to the streets,” said one protester, Point Park alumna Ren Finkel.

Finkel has been an active participant in various protests for about three years, including the Black Lives Matter movement and unions on strike. She was a member of the Student Solidarity Organization, a student-led social justice group on campus.

Early Wednesday morning, there was a student-organized protest in Oakland, and then later in the day separate groups organized a vigil in Market Square and another protest in East Liberty that began at the Ace Hotel. Demonstrations continued, including a protest in Point State Park that turned into a march Sunday afternoon and evening.

What started as a small group of students transformed and flooded into the streets of the University of Pittburgh’s campus involving hundreds of students, millennials and other members of the community.

Protesters consistently chanted “Not My President,” and “Donald Trump go away! Sexist, racist, anti-gay!” throughout the night, not letting small groups of Trump supporters deter them from continuing.

At the start of the protest in Oakland, one of the protesters burned a “Make America Great Again” hat. Along with others, the protestor danced and chanted around the hat.

Afterwards, the group snaked around the streets of Oakland, beginning on Bigelow Boulevard on the University of Pittburgh’s campus, quickly gaining momentum.

Corrine Jasmin, a senior at Point Park, passionately spoke out about how Trump personally affects her as an African-American queer woman. Jasmin has been involved with several Black Lives Matter protests in Pittsburgh.

“People are coming out of the wood-work because this guy is endorsed by white supremacists,” Jasmin said. “People are already teaching others that hate is acceptable and that it’s something that can be gotten away with.”

Hundreds of protesters continued on through the night, past four a.m.

Less than 24 hours later, a peaceful protest was organized at the Ace Hotel in East Liberty, drawing in a crowd of millennials. The protest created traffic, in which drivers either supported the movement or were annoyed.

“You hold up the city, you hold up traffic, you make things come to a standstill and make it clear that the status quo won’t be accepted,” Finkel said.

A smoke grenade was set off and police were dressed in riot gear. Mayor Bill Peduto made an appearance and yelled at the officers for using the smoke grenade, according to the Tribune Review.

A more calm event was held in Market Square Wednesday evening, welcoming members of the community to voice their thoughts on Trump becoming president in the form of a vigil. People from various walks of life helped light each other’s candles before the organizers invited anyone to share words or sing.

“As a queer person, as someone who is not cisgendered, I think this is going to be devastating,” Point Park sophomore Alec Ebeling said.

Ebeling believes that coming together as a community in events such as the vigil will show people that not everyone supports Trump.

“If we protest enough it can really show that not everybody is for Trump. Not everybody supports his policies and his very xenophobic, transphobic, racist, misogynistic language,” Ebeling said.

Another protest against Trump was held Sunday at Point State Park, allowing people to again voice their stances on the new president-elect.

After the protesters finished voicing their opinions, they made their way around the park and over the bridge to Heinz Stadium.

One protester, Christopher Patrick, is a gay man who spoke about LGBT rights and the changes made in his lifetime for the LGBT community.

“I’ll be 50 on inauguration day this year and I’m not getting the birthday present I hoped for,” Patrick said.

Patrick has had numerous Facebook friends remove him over election season.

“That’s fine with me, it looks like I just need new friends,” Patrick said. The crowd cheered him on.

Despite taking place in less than a week’s time, these protests and the vigil were just the start. More protests along with other events are planned to take place throughout the next few weeks.

“Historically, protests and direct action have been a way that people are able to make a change outside of just working within the system and voting,” Finkel said.

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