On 10:30 a.m., Friday morning, the students of Berkeley High School promptly left their classrooms. Collecting in the schoolyard, and then guided by the members of the student organization Chicano Latino United Voices, they made their way around the circumference of the school, forming a human wall to protest Donald Trump’s wishes to rescind the DACA program. If DACA were to be rescinded, the 800,000 undocumented immigrants who had been brought to the country as children (200,000 of whom live in California), would lose previously held government protection and may face deportation.
This ironic play on the “wall”, a word that has become sort of a symbol for Trump’s exclusionary and tactless presidency, is exactly what a high school protest should look like. Peaceful, but no less powerful, the student wall hits multiple birds with one stone. For one, it is the exact wielding of youth understanding and awareness to create an example of activism that is sure to inspire thousands of students all over the country, and all those in offices of power to push further, and do all they can to protect the rights and future of the undocumented immigrants. Mass resistance to this policy has already lead to meetings between Trump and few Democrats, who are attempting to make the protection of “Dreamers” in exchange for large and extensive border control a real possibility. American democracy is far stronger than it may seem, and these peaceful rallies, protests and use of the media, especially by the youth, are integral parts of initiating change.
But going beyond the government, legislation and politics, this protest manages to ascend to a far greater level of personal value. It’s easy to imagine these Dreamers to be just a teary-eyed faces on a news channel, far away from anyone we would personally encounter. What we don’t often realize is that Dreamers are active members of our society. They could be that kid who always helps you out with parabolic curves in your math class or a girl you pass in the hallway after sixth period. And in times like these, they are ravaged by anxiety, any assurance of a future they have worked so hard towards shattered. Mass acts like forming a human “wall” are the strongest symbols of acceptance, inclusion, resilience and protection by their own society, something that is imperative they feel now when the highest offices in the country threaten their future in a country they call home.
This Berkeley High School protest is an ideal example of resistance, but that always isn’t possible. However, spreading acceptance and love can be done in so many other ways. Make posters with messages of solidarity, get everyone to sign them, and pin them up in schools, libraries and public places. If your school won’t let you get out of class, hold rallies during lunch or after school. And most of all, be kind to those you know are affected. Just one voice goes a long way. When the presidency threatens a significant section of the country’ youth, it is only right the youth be the ones to fight back the hardest.
Image Credit: Corey Oakley, Flickr