Thousands of East Bay high schoolers flood Berkeley streets protesting Trump victory

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Mikaela Raphael/Staff

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Thousands of students from East Bay high schools walked out of class and flooded the UC Berkeley campus Wednesday morning to protest Donald Trump’s presidential victory Tuesday night.

Hoping to unify behind a common cause of inclusivity after a polarizing election, more than 2,000 students from Berkeley High School, Albany High School and El Cerrito High School marched through the streets of Berkeley clad in black clothes and holding signs that read “Not my president.” In addition, RISE at Berkeley — a student services organization for immigrant students — also held a sit-in at Sproul Plaza, with more than 500 students participating.

Students from Richmond High School and Kennedy High School also walked out of class and marched to Richmond City Hall, according to Marcus Walton, West Contra Costa Unified School District spokesperson.

“We needed to have a safe space for students of color, the LGBTQ community … (and) for everyone who has been oppressed from Donald Trump’s win and presidency,” said Ariana Cruz, a Berkeley High senior who helped organize the school’s walkout. “We were just trying to figure out what would be best for our student body.”

After it was announced that Trump would win the presidency, a group of Berkeley High seniors began messaging each other in a group chat Tuesday night, staying up until midnight to plan a protest. The organizers then texted details to friends, posting them on Facebook, Snapchat and other social media outlets.

About 7:45 a.m., the organizers arrived at Berkeley High to make posters and set up a table for students to join them before a rally started about an hour later. Berkeley High teachers and counselors also came to speak and promote a safe space for the students.

“The leaders of this protest … wanted to make it clear that this is not a protest against Trump but a sign of solidarity for immigrants and their family members,” said Berkeley High senior and organizer Camila Rice-Aguilar.

Berkeley High student organizations, such as the Chicano/Latino Club, the Crew for Chicano/Latino United Voices, the Muslim Student Association and the Gay Straight Alliance, all joined in to help lead the protest.

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Ethan Epstein/Senior Staff

“I’m here because (Trump) discriminates against many, many minorities, but if we can unite together, then we’ll make a majority against him, which is what we need to do to survive this,” said Gigi Mancuso-Jackson, a Berkeley High freshman at the protest.

The protesters moved to the UC Berkeley campus about 10 a.m., marching from Sproul Plaza to the Campanile. About an hour later, the group of students from Berkeley High and UC Berkeley had swelled at the base of the Campanile chanting, “Trump loves hate” and “Here to stay,” while a news helicopter circled overhead. About one-third of Berkeley High School’s staff, or 40 people, also attended the protest, according to Berkeley High School Restorative Justice Coordinator Eddie Estrada.

The outraged reaction to the announcement of Trump’s victory comes after the chaotic scene earlier Wednesday morning, when a crowd of about 200 people — composed largely of UC Berkeley students — marched from campus down Telegraph Avenue toward Oakland City Hall after jumping onto Highway 24.

As hundreds of students vocalized their loathing of the election results, Trump supporters on campus celebrated his victory and remain optimistic that he can be a unifying leader for the United States.

“People are hopefully going to see, as I have, that his comments were certainly not meant to be inflammatory toward them or discriminatory or hateful,” said Berkeley College Republicans member and freshman Chase Aplin on Tuesday night. “They were intended to be realistic toward a new goal for America’s future.”

Eric Prince, a Harvard University archaeology student who is working on his dissertation at UC Berkeley, visited the protest Wednesday to provide a different perspective on the election results.

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Mikaela Raphael/Staff

“A lot of people are angry about what happened in the country,” Prince said. “His government will leave more liberty to the people than Clinton’s government would.”

About noon, UC Berkeley students began a peaceful sit-in at Sproul Plaza, with about 100 Berkeley High students joining in. The focus of the protest shifted from disappointment about the elections to rallying behind undocumented students.

“We’re trying to start a movement for everybody against everything that Trump represents: racism, sexism, xenophobia,” said campus junior Adrian Hernandez who attended the Sproul Plaza sit-in.

At the same time, hundreds of Albany High School students dressed in black began walking out of class, marching down Shattuck Avenue toward campus, chanting “Fuck Donald Trump.” About 200 students later gathered at the base of the Campanile for a sit-in, with one protester asking the crowd, “What’s the America you believe in?”

“We didn’t do this mostly to hate on Trump, we did this to bring people together to see that minorities and women … can all stand together and that this election is not the end of everything,” said Albany High junior Sophia Tichenor, adding that the students had organized mostly through group messaging rather than social media posts.

Meghann Curry, an English teacher at Albany High School, said that on Wednesday morning, it was clear to the community that the day “wasn’t going to be business as usual.” Curry, whose first class in the morning was for English language learners, said many of her students expressed fear about the ramifications of the election results.

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Mikaela Raphael/Staff

“They were immediately asking me questions about, ‘What’s going to happen to my family? I’m Muslim. If I leave the country, am I going to be able to come back?’ ” Curry said. “They presented this (walkout) to me as … both in protest of the elections but also to show solidarity that they’re here for each other, and I wanted to be here for them as well.”

About 12:30 p.m., Berkeley High administrators sent an email to families encouraging parents to tell students to return to the high school campus. Wednesday classes were offered to those who wished to attend, but the school administration expressed support for the student protest.

“We prefer that our students are in the classroom during the school day,” said Berkeley school district spokesperson Charles Burress. “However, we recognize there are extraordinary circumstances in which students are moved by strong political beliefs, (and) we respect their right to engage in free speech.”

By about 1:50 p.m., protests on campus had dissipated, with some students returning to school but many gathering in smaller groups to continue marching and chanting in the streets.

Activist group By Any Means Necessary, or BAMN, announced that an “Emergency Response Protest” would be held later Wednesday evening to continue rallying efforts.

“I am very proud of what Berkeley High is doing,” said former Berkeley High student and current UC Santa Cruz freshman Louisa Ou. “They’re taking a stand and sharing their voice when most of them aren’t old enough to vote.”

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  • lspanker

    Maybe those kids holding the Mexican flag and stating that Trump isn’t their president should move on to the land where their president resides, which would appear to be Mexico…

  • The Seer

    These ignorants will be shown by “action” and experience through “direct benefit” of the upcoming great works of the Trump Presidency, reforms, world alignment with universal principles. In the end, they will be educated where their parents, teachers, clergy and friends failed and enabled the dark side to continue the suppression, imo.

  • Evan

    The media is but a part of the liberal machine but they are so culpable for the spread of this cancerous entity called Liberalsim. The current administration, Democrats and their national committee, academia (from grade school to graduate school) and socialist splinter groups like MoveOn and BLM are all conjoined at the frontal lobes, to form this liberal disease. The media simply feeds and fans the fire of political and social ignorance when these imbeciles gather and have a pity party on college campuses and in the streets of our cities. When asked WHY they are ‘protesting’, almost every one of them has no clue, or they spew out the most asinine and juvenile response imaginable! And why wouldn’t they? They are taught liberal ’causes’ like excessive political correctness and a watered down, twisted and perverted version of diversity, instead of precisely how our political system works and that there IS another viable alternative to liberalism! Not knowing any better (and suffering from the same self-inflicted ignorance of our constitution that most liberals do), they selectively choose to ignore the rule of law, the sanctity of our political system and instead, elect to destroy private and public property, threaten anyone who is not of their feeble and anemic mind set and of course, play the race card at any opportunity. And WHO is it that portrays these uninformed buffoons and their nonsensical actions as citizens exercising their right to protest? THE MEDIA! How moronic do you have to be to actually believe that the horrors of a socialistic/liberal agenda like that of Hillary Clinton (See Greece, Argentina and ANY other socialistic nation) could be in any way better than our constitutional republic, free from the idiocy of globalism? Just ask Great Britain! Mr. Trump stands for everything these lemmings have been brainwashed to believe. He wants and AMERICAN economy and not an anemic global economy! He wants an AMERICAN military force, not a UN led army of goons. He wants LOWER taxes, not more taxes. He wants restrictions LIFTED from businesses, not more placed upon them! He wants a healthcare system that is easily obtained through simple means and not like the money gobbling juggernaut that is Obamacare. He is an expert at creating jobs as Hillary and Obama has lost more jobs during their tenure than all other presidents combined! He want LEGAL immigration, not an open door policy to drugs, disease and crime! But oh no! These simpletons don’t want whats best for ALL of America, just what’s best for them! And once again, who feeds their ignorance? Who encourages their actions, actions that cause further division within our nation? Who portrays ALL police as evil? Who shows the ugly under belly of the world, but rarely shows the immense beauty? Who has lied, cheated and stolen from the American people for decades and robbed them of fair and honest reporting? And lastly, who is it that has lost all moral fiber and journalistic integrity in the eyes of the vast majority of Americans. THE MEDIA!

  • CoteMan

    Guess these masters of the universe discovered their universe ain’t so big.

  • Grandpa Dino

    The irony of the actions and statements of this immature bunch is no longer surprising. It is the result of listening and believing the liberal nonsense of their parents and drinking deep of the Kool-Aid.

    Tens of millions of voters disagree with these kids. And like was said by others, when disappointed, liberals riot; conservatives do not.

    Let real change begin!

  • ytubepuppy .

    Whining spoiled kids of whining spoiled parents.

  • ShadrachSmith

    This is just the sort of stuff that elected Trump. Thanks to the organizers, Trump couldn’t have won without you :-)

    • lspanker

      This is just the sort of stuff that elected Trump.

      Yes we could tell them that 1000 times, and they still wouldn’t get. Berkeley is clearly the largest outdoor laboratory to illustrate the Dunning-Kruger Effect in action: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning-Kruger_effect

  • Kurt VanderKoi

    I doubt that this was a spontaneous protest by 2,000 high school students!

    Seems pretty stupid to me!

    It has been said that:
    – UC Berkeley is “The People’s Republic Of Berkeley”
    – Berkeley is sometimes referred to as “Berserkely”
    – California “is on the leading edge of stupid”

    • Rose

      Hi
      I am a Berkeley high freshmen, and we didn’t know that trump would win, nor did we plan this. Donald trump has made this world an unsafe place, and we are all entitled to our opinions, no matter how “stupid”. So please, if you are going to spread hate, don’t do it here.

      • Kurt VanderKoi

        Donald Trump was just elected so how could he have possibly “made the world an unsafe place”?

        • lspanker

          Welcome to the (il)logic of idiot liberals…

      • lspanker

        Donald trump has made this world an unsafe place

        How so? Did you come to that conclusion on your own, or did somebody tell you that?

        • Rose

          donald trump has sexually assaulted multiple women, little girls included, and some that are my age. And now he is my president. Being a girl myself makes me scared for what he letting men think is ok, what he is encouraging them to do. He also has no respect for anyone who isn’t white, despite his twitter account saying, “I love Mexicans” (I’ll give you a hint- he doesn’t.) So no, I didn’t need anyone to tell me to not like trump, even I, the stupid beserkeley girl could figure that out myself. I don’t want to make anyone angry, and I respect everyone’s opinion, though I might disagree with it. If you would like to find out which women he assaulted and how many, look it up and click on the first link you see. It’s really interesting

      • roccolore

        You liberal fascists are the hatemongers. You hate Jews, hate Christians, hate our troops, hate police officers.

  • lspanker

    You know the difference between liberals and conservatives? When conservatives lose elections, they don’t walk out and throw tantrums. They get up the next morning, go to work, go to school, and the country keeps running as if nothing happened. When lefties lose an election, they have massive tantrums, want to leave the country, yet things go on in the working world as if nothing happened. That ought to tell you right there who are the people who really keep this country running…

    • Jessica Du Bois

      I would have loved to have seen your BS assessment of how Republicans would have reacted, put to the test. You people would have burned down any and everything not made of concrete. Trump had everyone convinced the system was rigged: so you bigot/racist/xenophobe/homophobic/sexist piles of poo would have had a field day. Shut up. You won.

      • Ryan

        You mean the last two tests we were put thru weren’t enough validation to prove your oh-so-certain result already? The first time in 2008 we were put to the test when Obama beat McCain and results were as expected; republicans and conservatives burned down every single non-concrete building the country over while shouting mean nasty things at people until the entire US looked like the ruins of Chichen Itza. Then in 2012; after 4 agonizing years of rebuilding all of the nation’s cities; darn, Obama wins again. So we were put to this test again and, as you would have expected; gathered on the east coast, picked up our 150 million+ torches and launched our whiny bigot, sore loser manifest destiny of fire westward until damn…us piles of poo burned down every last house, building, tree, antiquated “Kerry ’04” sign, etc. in our path. Remember all that? Man it sure was a rough 8 years for the nation when those damn hate-mongering, torch-weilding righties burned everything down twice just because they didn’t get their way. Starting to sound a little ridiculous yet? Bottom line; we WERE put to the test not once, but twice in the last 8 years, and proved that no such thing (not even something several orders of magnitude less exaggerated than my little tale of alternate history) ended up happening like you seem to think it would. Case dismissed, court adjourned…

        • lspanker

          Bravo!

      • lspanker

        I would have loved to have seen your BS assessment of how Republicans would have reacted, put to the test.

        Did they riot in 2008 and 2012? No, they got up, got dressed, and went to work.

        Trump had everyone convinced the system was rigged:

        How do you explain voting machines in PA changing Trump votes to Clinton? Obama encouraging illegals to vote. Fighting against Voter ID laws that would have stopped a lot of fraudulent voting? Don’t forget the cemeteries of Chicago which always seem to have a 100%+ turnout in the polls as well…

      • roccolore

        Democrats are the bigots who hate our military, hate Jews, hate Christians, hate police officers. Democrats are the racists who defend copkillers and illegal alien criminals. Democrats are the xenophobes who lecture on diversity yet live in all-white neighborhoods. Democrats are the homophobes who defend the Muslims who throw gays off buildings. Democrats are the sexists who defend Islam and pay women less than men.

    • ShadrachSmith

      This protest is Breitbart’s cover story today, because they are good PR for why Hillary lost.

    • Ned Oneida

      So true! Conservatives are a stoic bunch that just puts their heads down and keeps things running smoothly. Can’t remember the last time I heard a conservative complaint about elected officials. That kind of crap only comes from the left!

  • I voted for trump.

    • lspanker

      I didn’t, although the temptation was certainly there. I’m certainly shedding no tears over the fact that Hillary’s future political career has pretty much had the last nail driven into the coffin…

      • Ned Oneida

        Me neither, shedding tears I mean. Wait….you did vote, right Ispanker?

    • SusanSF

      why?

      • Because I believe in a nation of laws and sovereignty where common sense policies are prized over political correctness. I voted for the candidate who will uphold and honor the constitution rather than try to rewrite it. I truly believe to echo something ronald reagan said, this is not a choice between left and right, republican or democrat, but rather a choice between up and down.

        • Ryan

          Well said!