Rallies take a violent turn across the nation
STUDENTS REACT TO TRUMP’S
A call to remove a confederate statue depicting Robert E. Lee ignited violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia in mid-August. White supremacists gathered for a “Unite the Right” protest, which resulted in three people dead, and many more injured.
While the protests were heavily covered by University of Virginia students on social media and inevitably affected students in the college town, many CU Denver students also felt disappointed by the events. “I was a little mad because people are still having protests about race, and I believe that’s a thing people shouldn’t be protesting about anymore,” said Cruz Garcia, a junior Film and Television student. Garcia was not alone in his concern.
“I was heartbroken. I’m 65 years old and I marched in the 60s, so I went through that whole process,” said Denise Regan, an Anthropology graduate student. “I lived under the belief system that we were beyond discrimination so overt as to what’s happening in this country, so I was heartbroken. It puts a strain on humanity.”
“I think there’s blame on both sides,” Trump said in a statement to the press on Aug 15. “I’ve condemned many different groups, but not all of those people were neo-Nazis, not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch.” Trump’s remarks provoked responses from many politicians, even in Colorado. President Donald Trump’s response to the events in Charlottesville were perceived by some as condoning white supremacy.
“Mr. President we must call evil by its name,” tweeted Colorado Senator Cory Gardner. “These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism.” Students shared Gardner’s sentiments. “President Trump didn’t take any sides because he didn’t want to make anyone the bad guy, but it wasn’t the right time to do that because people got hurt,” Garcia said. “He should have condemned the violence, and he didn’t.”
“As a species we want to protect ourselves; it’s almost a primal instinct to reconcile complicated things in our heads so we can move forward,” Regan said. “When there’s an absence or ignorance of a moral code—and I feel that can be attributed to Trump—I don’t even feel that it’s purposeful, I just feel that it’s ignorance. And it might be a lack of ability, it also could be somewhat of an cognitive or emotional disability where he just cannot connect on a grander scale.”
“From a student perspective, it’s good to challenge ourselves, especially with the younger students coming up my age makes me non-traditional,” Regan said. “You pretty much adopt whatever your parents or whatever your familial culture or your previous high school culture we’re all socialized. I think [in college] it’s important to reconsider everything you thought you knew. From that standpoint, I’d like to say that there is something that can happen from this that will challenge us. My generation has already been through this, but your generation…this is your gig, guys. This is your world. We did a lot, and there’s a lot we didn’t do well, but there’s a lot of work you have to do now.”