November 30, 2016
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As the clock strikes 10:30, there is a flurry of movement. No bell has rung, no alarm has sounded, yet the halls flood with crowds of students, all on their way towards the quad, the epicenter of Miramonte. Ignoring threats of punishment from administration, hundreds of students of all ages have gathered to protest the previous night’s presidential election, held on November 8th. “F*ck Trump”, yells an excited student through a megaphone, standing on table. “Not my president,” shouts another. Soon, the crowd begins to move in a mass exodus. Stopping traffic, the crowd spills through the streets, leaving Miramonte behind.
On November the 8th, 2016, Republican candidate Donald Trump was officially elected president. Following this historical event, in which the Republican party seized control of the House, the Senate, and the Presidency, protests erupted all over the United States. On November 9th, 2016, opposition leaked into the halls of Miramonte. Students decided to take a stand.
Led by junior Jayne Latimer, hundreds of students abandoned their third period classes to participate in a walkout. “I wanted to fight for what I believe in, and I wanted others to join me in that fight. I am so happy that this many people have joined me,” Latimer said. “Mr. Trump’s views are pointed towards hate, and they should pointed towards love. We need to make change.”
Latimer led the students across Moraga Way, stopping lines of cars, and onto Ivy Drive, where bystanders came out of their houses to watch the procession. Waving from their doorsteps, throwing their arms in the air, many voiced their support for the students’ efforts. “I didn’t know anything about the walk-out until I saw you walking down my street. I’m proud that the students are taking political action. I am very distraught with the results of the election, so to see you taking a stand is amazing,” Paul Barrie-Kivel said, encouraging the crowds of young protestors passing by his mailbox.
The students stopped short of Orinda Intermediate School due to threat of legal action. Stepping foot on the grounds of the school would be a clear trespassing violation, punishable by police action and possible arrest.The students had no choice but to turn left onto Coral Drive. Heading back toward Miramonte—backpacks in tow—the protesters made a statement, causing yet another traffic jam on Moraga Way. Walking down the street, towards oncoming cars, the throng of students quickly caused a build up. Drivers honked horns and even gave high-fives, adding to the uproar of the event. Principal Julie Parks and Janitor Edmond Wu hastily ushered the stagnant crowd off the street, and out of harm’s way.
Circling around the backside of Miramonte, students then followed the dirt path around the baseball fields, therefore completing the walk-out.
The administration, meanwhile, had only one goal in the demonstration. “We want to make sure everyone is safe while we do the walkout,” Parks said, who consequently accompanied the students’ movement.
Prior to the event, emails sent from Parks herself were delivered to all Miramonte staff members, warning of the repercussions that would inevitably follow the campaign. In full understanding of punishment to follow, those involved in the protest chose to value their voices over consequences. “We are living history,” senior Lauren Bond said. “This is so much more important than a cut, or a homework assignment. I just want to do something, to raise my voice, and say I care.”
Many protesters—just like Bond— saw the walkout as a chance to have their voices heard. Disappointment and anger over the new face of the government inspired many students to blatantly ignore these threats. “I don’t believe Donald Trump is fit to be president. I am against everything he is, and everything he stands for. Today, I am hoping to draw attention to the cause,” junior Gabriel Bostick said. “Political turmoil had seeped into the water of Miramonte. ”
Upon returning to the school, many students returned to class. However, groups of students sitting in the quad continued the movement. Sitting on the grass, they continued to chant, “Love Trump’s hate.” They were met by the Orinda Police Department, whose sirens blared throughout campus. The OPD took the names of several students.
Following the event, administration followed through on their warnings of punishment. “A part of civil disobedience always includes consequences, and while freedom of speech is an important right that we have as citizens of this country, part of what makes those things meaningful is the consequence you suffer for engaging in them,” Parks said, ushering crowds of students across the street who had left campus. “I support your right to make that choice.”
Emails were sent out to all students involved, who—as promised—attended a mandatory detention in the cafeteria.
However, not all students supported the protest’s cause. Many Trump—and yes, even Clinton—supporters spurned the students’ efforts. “I don’t support the protest due to its lack of purpose. If you truly believe your way of life is going to be intrigued, or that you will be endangered in one way or another, you need to take a step back, and do something that will help your cause,” said an anonymous Trump supporter.