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The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

Student news without fear or favor

Hundreds march against Trump travel ban at Sac State

Demonstrators march through Sacramento State during a #NoBanNoWall protest on Feb. 2, 2017. (Photo by Barbara Harvey)

By John Ferrannini and Kameron Schmid

Hundreds of people marched on Sacramento State on Thursday afternoon to oppose President Donald Trump’s executive actions on immigration, chanting the rallying cry and hashtag of protesters around the nation: “No ban, no wall.”

Several student organizations helped to put together the protest, which began in the Library Quad at 1:30 p.m. It was organized earlier this week in response to an order signed by Trump last Friday that suspended travel to the United States from seven predominantly Muslim countries and the admission of all refugees.

Amer Tere, the vice president of the Muslim Student Association, said that he was moved by the turnout.

“The thing that kind of shook me to my core was how many people came out. We started this two days ago, and this is an amazing number of people for less than 48 hours of planning,” Tere said. “I just want to stress that it’s not just Muslims. They came out to speak against an injustice, and that’s what means a lot to me.”

“(It was) the biggest protest on campus I think I’ve seen,” said Sac State junior Jose Arias, who led some of the chants. “It’s beautiful to see people come out and demand change.”

The protesters marched from the quad to the River Front Center and back twice, repeating slogans chanted over a megaphone.

While passing Kadema Hall a second time, they were met by a waving Sac State President Robert Nelsen.

“I’m very proud of our students for having a voice and I think that this nation was based upon freedom of speech,” Nelsen said. “I’m very concerned about those orders … I want our students to be able to travel freely and I want to them to be able to have international experience.”

The demonstrators then settled in the Library Quad to listen to speeches about President Trump’s policies and anti-Muslim prejudice — but not before several Muslims paused to say their salah prayers, a ritual observed five times per day by the observant.

Maurice Lemons, a freshman theater major, told the crowd that that he joined the protest after he discovered it while leaving his afternoon class.

“I’m Christian, and I serve God. And God is love,” Lemons said. “Just because other people serve different gods I don’t agree with, the God that I do agree with wouldn’t want me to ban them or not accept them.”

The protesters were met several times by a counter-protest consisting of about 10 members of the Sacramento State College Republicans, who had been seated at their club booth near the quad when the march began.

“It was our right for free speech as well,” said Mason Daniels, the president of the College Republicans. “We should be heard as well.”

The counter-protesters chanted “build the wall, protect us all” while holding a College Republicans flag and obstructed the path of the oncoming crowd multiple times.

Tere, along with other members of the protest, stood in front of the College Republicans and instructed marchers to go around.

“We broke upon them like the river upon a rock,” Tere said.

Tensions flared when the marchers returned to the Library Quad after a member of the College Republicans attempted to enter a prayer circle set up by the protesters.

A woman who did not wish to be named responded by grabbing the College Republicans flag with the handle of her umbrella, sparking a brief physical altercation.

“Floyd, our black member, tried to squeeze through (the protesters) with the flag to show he’s welcome in the Republican Party,” Daniels said. “Somebody grabbed him and threw him back.”

Daniels said that the members of the group are considering filing an official complaint with the school, and that they spoke with Ed Mills, the vice president of student affairs.

Sac State student Erica Menser spoke to the crowd in the Library Quad about her concern over protests nationwide, but thanked the protesters at Sac State for being more respectful.

“Thank you guys for not having a giant drama or anything, but just to let you guys know, like if you see people on the streets and they’re wearing Trump stuff, you guys disagree — respectful conversations, you know?”

Protesters disagreed about the responsibility Trump supporters in general bear for his policies.

“I have no issues with them,” Tere said. “My issue is with the man who says that people from a certain country are illegal, i.e. Mexicans, or that you want to ban a certain people from coming into the country.”

Arias said that he “is not here for respectability politics.”

“If your opinion wants my family deported or dead, your opinion doesn’t matter to me. And that’s the reality,” Arias said. “When people are getting murdered out there, dying and being incarcerated, I’m not going to hear your opinion when your opinion wants my existence to be gone.”


A photo gallery of the Thursday march:

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(Photos by Barbara Harvey, Vu Chau, Rin Carbin, Letrice Fowler and Itzel Ponce)

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  • garyFeb 26, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    Is anybody interested in the other side of the story?

  • Anon SJWFeb 3, 2017 at 8:13 pm

    An important point that has been left out of this article was members of the College Republicans blocking the passage of the protest with their banner several times during the march around campus, protestors broke through the barriers while chanting, “Peaceful Protest.”