SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — Though they are young, South Orange Middle School students know what they stand for, and during President Donald Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 19, many SOMS students staged a protest, marching out of the school and through Meadowland Park.
Students spoke about how the United States must be focused on tolerance and love, and many spoke took a stand against the inauguration of a man whom many have accused of being racist and intolerant of those different from himself.
The students held handmade signs, reading “Not My President,” “Choose Love,” “Love Trumps Hate,” “Dump Trump” and “Without Immigrants, Trump Would Have NO Wives.”
But the students did not dwell on the negative. All quieted down to listen to a recording of Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech, with one student holding up a speaker.
One of the student organizers called it a “strange day,” telling her classmates, “We have a president who just came into office who is going to take us back 50 years.”
This student encouraged her peers to stand up to injustice and to let those facing it know they are not alone. She did caution them, however, to protect themselves.
“Do what you need to do to be safe,” she said, “and help those who aren’t.”
Lastly, the SOMS student organizers stressed that the protest had been entirely led by students. Although the teachers did not stop it, they had not suggested it either. The students decided they wanted to make a statement and they did.
Photos by Yael Katzwer