Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Latino Students Join With Other Groups to Stop Chicago Trump Rally

A March 11 rally for presidential candidate Donald Trump in Chicago was cancelled after supporters and protesters collided at the University of Illinois at Chicago Pavilion.

It may have ended with some people injured and others in jail, but participants in an effort to stop a Donald Trump rally in Chicago over the weekend are calling their organized protest against the leading Republican presidential candidate a success

In the week leading up to the event, Latino college students were among those who worked to organize a formal demonstration at the University of Illinois at Chicago Pavilion, where Trump was scheduled to appear before things took a tumultuous turn and the event was canceled. 

The student group Fearless Undocumented Alliance and its faculty supporters reportedly had asked the university to cancel the event, citing safety concerns. But when the event was scheduled to proceed as planned, they joined other student groups, including the Black Student Union and the Muslim Students Association, to build a Facebook page, “Stop Trump-Chicago,” and begin organizing a protest. They marched to the Trump rally Friday with a banner that read, “Trump makes America hate. Our students make America great.”

In a story for POLITICO Magazine, Keith O’Brien recounts the events of the evening.

The protesters, mostly black and Latino and young, were standing shoulder to shoulder with the people that their protest would upset most. The crowd was white—all of them—sporting “Hillary for Prison” and “Bomb the Hell out of ISIS” pins, wearing camouflage ball caps, hunter orange, and N.R.A. gear, and shouting for their candidate, who was late, but coming, surely coming.

“U-S-A!” they chanted.

And: “Build that Wall!”

And: “We want Trump!”

UIC student Yasmeen Elagha told Democracy Now! that as a whole, the students were there to protest “Donald Trump’s hateful speech and his attempts to divide the nation.” But as groups of students dispersed through the crowd — many getting inside the pavilion by posing as Trump supporters – they each represented a specific people group, including refugees, Muslims and Mexicans, that would be affected by controversial policies Trump has proposed. 

Things quickly turned chaotic, however, and the Trump campaign called off the rally. Five people were arrested, and others were injured, including a police officer who reportedly had a bottle smashed over his head.  

The Stop Trump Facebook group later posted on its page:

Our goal tonight was to show Donald Trump that his bigotry and racism is not welcome here. Not on UIC’s campus. Not in our city. We can safely say that tonight, this was accomplished. We, the students, would like to thank everyone who helped us make our voices heard today! We showed that when we come together, our different backgrounds empower us to stand up and fight back against blatant injustice. What we felt today here was beautiful – hate doesn’t stand a chance against unity, solidarity, and a drive to do what is right.