By: Albert Luna
Valentine’s Day at New Mexico State University featured a group of students and community members partaking in a protest march across campus.
The ‘Love Trumps Hate’ march, started around one o’clock near Corbett Center Student Union, where the sizable group of students initially met, and proceeded down International Mall before holding a rally on the horseshoe grass.
Similar protests have taken place across the nation’s campuses in the past few weeks, mainly as a contention of some key statements, remarks, and executive orders by President Donald Trump in his first few weeks in office.
“I don’t support [President] Donald Trump, I don’t think he has the best interest of our country in mind” Ashlerose Francia, a Government and Criminal Justice Major who was at the rally, said. “I think he is going to roll back a lot of regulations, which will be very dangerous for a lot of people, even the people who voted for him.”
President Trump recently drew criticism from many liberals after issuing a temporary travel ban for nations primarily in the middle east. The White House has said this is mainly to allow more time for a vetting process of potential people trying to enter the United States, while some contend that it was a ban based solely on race or religion.
“There are so many minority groups that are being oppressed right now with the Muslim ban, the immigration [policy], and women’s rights” Sammy Luna, a Geography major at the rally, said. “If you look at these parallels, we cannot stand for this hate that dehumanizes these people. We have to show support so that we are here for them and with love”
The protest was put on mainly by student groups such as Young Berniecrats, AgGays, and Aggie Solidarity, as well as local community groups that were advocating for social justice.
For many at the protest, these issues can be more significant in their day-to-day life than others.
“I’m from Mexico, I’m an immigrant. Right now I am standing here with fear because I am not a U.S. citizen” a male NMSU student speaking on condition of anonymity said. The student, who is a completing his masters through the Health and Social Services College says that the recent election has made him very uneasy on a number of levels. “We [him and his family] came to this country looking for freedom and peace because we did not get that there in Mexico, we were persecuted for speaking up over there and now it feels we are being persecuted here” he said.
Many protestors came equipped with signs, custom shirts, and different props to convey their message. The movement had an estimated 40 people attend with a substantial amount of media attention as well. The rally held on the horseshoe lasted over an hour with the respective groups and speakers as well as musicians addressing the crowd.
The student speaking on condition of anonymity, who addressed the crowd at one point, says that he believes the power of the protest is still very much alive. “I think it is important because it is an outlet for a lot of fears and indifferences that we are feeling, but also when you see the [U.S.] government making fun of people protesting, I think it’s not because they do not like it, I think it is because they see the power in this.”
To view a full list of pictures of the protest, click the mulitmedia tab on TRU’s wesbite- http://www.nmsuroundup.net
Cultural Editor Jianna Vasquez contributed to this report.