Rally shows support for marginalized communities


Jason Howell

Beluchuwu Ebede, a technology graduate student from Nigeria, reads a speech during the Solidarity Rally on Thursday at the steps of the Doudna Fine Arts Center. Ebede’s told the assembled ralliers how much America means to him and how valuable immigrants are to the country.

Cassie Buchman, News Editor

Ask Beluchukwu Ebede, an international student from Nigeria, about his time in the United States, and he will say he has seen both unity and diversity.

However, recent concerns regarding actions taken by President Donald Trump have started to “twist things apart,” he said.

It was this feeling that led Ebede and other members of the campus community to speak at a Solidarity Rally Thursday.

The rally was held next to the Doudna Steps to show support for those who feel marginalized by what Trump has done since taking office, including the immigration ban and proposed wall on the border of Mexico and America.

Along with immigrants, speakers also expressed solidarity with women, minorities and those in the LGBT community.

Several speakers also spoke about problems they had with the Trump administration’s stance on climate change.

The rally was followed by a march where various signs, such as ones reading “No one is free while others are oppressed” and “Build a 10-foot wall and we’ll build an 11-foot ladder” were carried to the front of Old Main.

Ebede, a graduate student studying technology, said the story of America’s greatness could not be complete without mentioning the contribution of immigrants.

“(This) movement is at the right time, to give confidence to people like us, to believe that we are still safe,” he said.

Ebede said he went to the rally to support the idea that everyone in America is an immigrant.

“The story of America’s greatness could not be complete without mentioning the immense contribution of immigrants,” he said at the rally. “This is a known fact…I hereby join my voice to all those voices clamoring for unity and diversity.”

William Harrison, a sophomore sociology major, told the ralliers not to normalize Trump.

“Don’t normalize alternative facts, don’t normalize people paying for government positions. Don’t normalize bigotry,” he said. “None of this is normal, nor is it acceptable.”

Harrison said they need to make it known they do not stand for discrimination.

“It’s more important now than ever to stand up and take action against forces that oppress us, especially when those forces are coming directly from our government,” he said.

Harrison encouraged ralliers to get involved when they see something wrong happening.

“It’s now time to do more than post on Facebook or send out emails in solidarity,” he said. “We need to hit the streets, protest, boycott, write letters to our congress people, speak out against bigotry and vote.”

Marchers made their voices heard with chants such as “No hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here” and by singing “This Land is your Land” while waiting for speakers to take their turn.

Citlally Fabela, a senior biological sciences major, said it is important to fight for what is right.

“We don’t get anywhere unless we get in the streets and get our voices heard.”

Fabela said the immigration ban is based on irrational fear.

“Anybody who thinks they don’t relate to immigrants, if they just sat down and had a conversation with them, it could change their whole life,” she said.

Being a first-generation American and part of the LGBT community, Fabela said what is happening is angering her, but taking action in these kinds of rallies helps her overcome this.

“All of us together are not a minority if we all fight, no matter what our background is,” she said. “We’re all the same, we just come from different places. Nobody wants to live in a world where everybody is the same; we need diversity.”


Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].