When I first read the article published by Orlando Weekly on Wednesday which announced Trump’s arrival at the CFE Arena, I was shocked. How could someone who was so blatantly racist, sexist, and xenophobic come to my school for a rally? How could UCF agree to allowing this to happen?
Upon further investigation, I realized that the property that Trump’s campaign rented, the CFE Arena, had no reflection on UCF as the rental was not affiliated with them. This news still did not satisfy my reaction to knowing Trump was setting foot on my school grounds.
After talking with my friend, Yahmirah McNeil, who is also an avid anti-trump supporter, we decided to plan a peaceful protest in retaliation of this news. I also asked Tahoora Ateeq, a fellow friend and president of the UCF Pakistani Student Association, if she’d like to help organize this event; which she eagerly agreed too.
We quickly made a Facebook event page for the protest and by Wednesday evening, the page had sky-rocketed as more people became aware of the protest. On Thursday morning, our event merged with another event that was advocating a peaceful protest, run by David Moosmann and within 24 hours we had over 800 people RSVP between both events.
The positive response that has come out of setting up this protest is both exciting and relieving. I am proud to be part of a university community that is willing to stand up, together, for a common value that they believe in.
While some people may view this protest as just an opportunity for emotionally-strained college students to take their exam stress out on a politician, the importance of this impact is much greater. It is allowing our students the opportunity to publically show their opinion and to show the Orlando community that UCF students care about the forthcoming presidential candidates and are willing to unify with one another, no matter any cultural differences.
With Trump quickly becoming the front-running GOP candidate in the primary races, the reality of him becoming the official Republican nominee is all but too real. And it is a terrifying reality to many students who call UCF their home.
In recent rallies and debates, Trump has voiced his public distaste for nearly every minority demographic that resides in America; whether it is insinuating Muslims are terrorists, Mexicans are rapists, sexualizing women, or many of the other unfiltered remarks that has slipped into his campaign speeches.
These remarks are just a taste of what will come if Trump were to win the 2016 presidency and the impact of his words have only contributed to the unrest in the American community as we have witnessed at some Trump rallies.
In particular, the media has shown videos of security escorting protesters out of rallies for peacefully speaking their mind. In a recent trip to the Sun Dome at the University of South Florida, Trump supporters were seen taunting and degrading Muslim students who showed up to peacefully observe.
These incidents just further suggests to students and American individuals that hate,violence, and bigotry will be allowed if Trump were to become president- going against everything America stands for.
While the outcome of this protest aims to show the general public our unified objection to allowing Trump into office, we are also attempting to use this platform to inform students of their duty to vote. With the Florida primaries coming up after spring break, the importance of having students informed on their duties and responsibilities of voting is extremely vital. Especially with Florida being a ‘swing state’.
The peaceful protest that will take place on March 5 is open to all UCf students and while we welcome everyone to attend, we want to ensure that everyone understands that this protest is a way for us to represent ourselves with respect and dignity. No violence, rudeness, or shameful behavior is allowed and goes against the main principles that we are hoping to portray.
In regards to the Donald Trump campaign; while I realize this protest may do little to sway your political and moral views, I hope you see that the UCF community are a united and dignified group of individuals who are aspiring to make a change in the near future.
We are composed of a diverse student body who thrive on the differences and strengths of each individual in order to create a better tomorrow. When comments of bigotry and ignorance are directed to a particular group or religion, it affects all of us. They are our brothers, sisters, friends, and co-workers. They are human. And until respect and kindness is extended to every group and demographic, we will stand united in solidarity with them.
We may be trying to make America great again. But always remember.
Hate won’t make us great.