Unable to vote and largely dismissed as inconsequential and voiceless, students in Montgomery County, Maryland recently organized and marched en masse, snarling traffic on a busy highway in order to voice their discontent over the election of anti-immigrant fascist Donald Trump.
Pupils at Silver Spring’s Montgomery Blair High School received permission from their principal to demonstrate on the institution’s athletic field, but those confines soon proved inadequate and the impressive number of students, many of whom were people of color and immigrants, lumbered down University Boulevard towards downtown Wheaton, a suburb of Washington. Invigorated students at nearby Northwood High joined the demonstration as it passed by the school and continued their march while police escorted them safely through traffic as news helicopters circled above.
Additional protests popped up later in the week in Gaithersburg and Rockville and affairs remained peaceful until a Trump supporter in Rockville was injured in a scuffle with anti-Trump demonstrators. This blemish caused the new superintendent of schools to outlaw the protests, squelching constitutional rights to freedom of assembly. This is another example of students of color being marginalized and silenced by white people in power.
The xenophobia stoked by Trump’s campaign rhetoric has hit home for many students in Montgomery County because of the high number of undocumented Latino immigrants in cities like Silver Spring, Takoma Park, Gaithersburg and Germantown. Many students of color who are documented have organized in solidarity with their friends and classmates who are at genuine risk of being deported. In an era of unprecedented rhetorical hatred and fear, it is encouraging to see that young people are keenly aware of their reality and desire to speak out and be heard.