Community Unites Under Fear Of Divided Families

Students voice their social, political concerns through peaceful walk.

Contra Costa College students chant and hold signs during the “Undivided” rally and march from campus to San Pablo City Hall on Thursday.

By Reggie Santini, Spotlight Editor

Students came together for the “Undivided” rally and march against President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday.

About 100 Contra Costa College student protesters made their way down San Pablo Avenue chanting “Not my president” and “Hey, hey, ho, ho, bigotry has got to go” as they headed to San Pablo City Hall to voice their opinion in a peaceful protest.

“I might not have much to say, but I have something to say. Donald Trump will not take away my voice,”  Contra Costa Community College District Student Trustee and Democratic Society Vice President Kwame Baah-Arhin said.

Upon arriving at San Pablo City Hall students took turns voicing what they believe is wrong with the United States. They shouted  “racism, sexism, bigotry and police brutality.”

Before heading out to march toward San Pablo City Hall, students from the Puente Club, La Raza Student Union, the Black Student Union, Students for Education Reform, Middle College High School students and more gathered in the Student Services Center Plaza to share some words.

Students used a megaphone to express why they decided to participate in the protest and why they don’t approve of Trump.

Students expressed their fear of losing undocumented family members and friends who would directly be affected by Trump’s leadership.

Some students teared up as speakers shared their personal narratives. When arriving at San Pablo City Hall, everyone gathered around for a peaceful sit-in.

CCC student Noor Ayyad said her friend texted her asking if she was going to wear her hijab, because she did not feel safe wearing it now that Trump has been elected.

“What will happen to me and my family now that he’s president? We are Muslims and my family was not born here like me,” Ayyad said.

“A lot of my family and friends are immigrants and I don’t want to lose my family,” MCHS student Jessica Gedinuz said.

Students spoke out about some of the things Trump has said he hates about them.

MCHS student and Democratic Society President Andrea Webb said she is everything Trump hates. She is an immigrant black woman. She said she is thankful that her voice was being heard.

Business major and police aide Corina Espinal said, “Why would you elect some billionaire that has no experience doing this. He is a racist who has no plan for this nation.”

Music major Valeria Figueroa said she was thankful for the protest because it gave her a voice. “I am new to the college and I feel my voice is not heard. But today it is being heard,” she said.

Students found an empty City Hall despite being told by Vice Mayor Cecilia Valdez that she would be there to greet them.

Valdez told students before they left CCC, “City Hall will be closed today, but I will be there to listen to you and support you. Thank you for doing this, many students will be effected by your actions today.”

Counselor Norma Valdez-Jimenez said, “I am disappointed that Vice Mayor Valdez did not show up despite saying she would. But this is our land so we don’t need anyone to welcome us to it.”

Psychology major and Puente Club member Mauricio Duarte said, “The doors of City Hall might be closed, but the door of our hearts is always open.”

As students made their way to the San Pablo City Hall, passersby honked their horns and cheered at the protesters.

San Pablo community members even joined the protesters as they marched through the streets.

Local resident Michael Norris said, “If people don’t say anything there will be prejudice all around. I am proud of CCC for doing this,” as he marched with the protesters.

San Pablo resident Jose Ramo Prado said, “We need to change the system. It should be the people who pick the president of the United States and not the delegates.”

He also said he moved here from Mexico 78 years ago and has never been more worried about his country.

Local shop owners and employees came outside and voiced their opinion as well.

“We all need to get together and protest right now. “We need to unite and sign petitions to see how far we can take this,” local barber Taurice Williams said.

The peaceful protest was escorted through the city by San Pablo Police officers who blocked traffic to help students safely cross the streets.

The Puente Club organized the “Undivided” rally and march protest during their meeting on Nov. 9.

Fliers were sent out over social media with the help of La Raza and the Associated Student Union.

Protesters met inside the Student Lounge around 11 a.m. to design protest signs and further organize the march and rally.   

“We went to Home Depot yesterday to buy the wood handles and cardboard for the signs. This was all planned over night,” Duarte said.

Some CCC administrators came to show their support to those participating in the protest before they left for City Hall.  CCC President Mojdeh Mehdizadeh said, “I am proud of our students for using their First Amendment rights. It is important for us to share our perspective and hope that it spreads.”

Dean of Student Services Vicki Ferguson said, “This protest shows the campus as one. I think of unity and