Penn State professor calls on all to recognize common ground
Denzel Fields isn’t a member of the Queer and Trans People of Color at Penn State.
But on Tuesday afternoon, he stood side-by-side with some of the members who organized a Not My President walkout against President-elect Donald Trump, and used art to send people a message.
The first-year graduate student said he found inspiration in musician and civil rights advocate Paul Robeson, who Fields said stressed the message, “Art is showing life as it is and as it should be.”
“I’m part of this movement as a whole, but can bring something different to it,” Fields said. “I want to express my artistry to help give the voiceless a voice. It’s for those who feel rejected, ostracized and marginalized, and I chose to be that voice.”
Protestor uses art to advocate for the #NotMyPresident demonstration
Among about a half dozen student speakers who led the rally, Fields, instead, sang John Legend and Common’s song “Glory” from the movie “Selma.”
It was followed by a long applause and a march to the HUB-Robeson Center. The rally started outside of Old Main and lasted through the afternoon.
“I think this gives people hope that people stand among them in a time where they feel like they don’t belong,” senior Tamara Casson said. “As a minority, I can say we want to feel validated, but here is a way to spread awareness and do it civilly.”
Hundreds gather, march with anti-Trump signs at Penn State during rally
Many participants held homemade signs that said things like, “A vote for Trump is an act of violence;” “Donald Trump go away;” “We’re not invisible;” and “Love trumps Hate.”
And the call and response chant that went with the march was “not my president.”
“We know the vote says he is our president, but I think we don’t want to accept that because we don’t feel we have a place in his America,” Casson said.
While there was no formal rally for the opposition, a handful of Trump supporters spoke out on contrary, and at least one other person — a Penn State associate professor — spread a message to keep the peace.
“They keep saying ‘not our president,’ but the reality is that he is our president,” said freshman Ed Cottrill, a member of the Bull-Moose Party at Penn State. “I think they just need to accept that, and see a different side that he might actually help make America great and do what he wants for the greater good.”
Michelle Rodino-Colocino teaches media studies at Penn State, and used discussion in her class to advocate for solidarity.
Dressed as Wonder Woman, she stood among the crowd with a mission to “find common ground.” .
I hope we can end this and support a movement to move forward.
Michelle Rodino-Colocino, Penn State associate professor of media studies
“We’ve had a lot of small group discussions in class and what I’m seeing is that, despite political difference, there is a lot people who agree when it comes to the major issues,” she said. “I hope they can take people at their word when they (Trump supporters) say they’re not racist. ... I hope we can end this and support a movement to move forward.”