MAPLEWOOD, NJ — On Jan. 20, the day President Donald Trump was inaugurated as America’s 45th president, hundreds of students from Columbia High School staged a walkout in protest.
With verve, indignation and even a few pink hats, the students marched from CHS to Maplewood Town Hall, where they held a rally, at which they called for a cessation of hatred and intolerance, and for equality for everyone. The participating students made it clear that they were not behind Trump and his administration, and that they do not endorse his vision for America.
On the steps of Maplewood Town Hall, student Avery Julien delivered a powerful speech to his peers, telling them to stay strong and remain united.
“If we fall apart, if we keep hating each other, if we keep preventing us from becoming one another, or just a person in general, we’re going to fail,” Julien said to thunderous applause. “We’re going to lose everything we have. We have to remember that we have to be respectful, because if they can, they might hurt us. And that’s OK because we’ll say our message regardless. I want you guys to be civilly disobedient and stay strong and let’s go back to the school.”
During the peaceful protest, students remained focused on the matter at hand, chanting “not my president,” “black lives matter” and “dump Trump.”
While Maplewood police were dispatched to the area and even closed sections of Valley Street, the protest seemed to remain peaceful and there were no observable disruptions.
This event was led by students, though the school district was supportive of its students making their voices heard and joining in the national discussion.
Photos Courtesy of Emma Joy and Ben Krueger