On Monday 30th January 2017, a series of protests were organised across the United Kingdom to stand against President Donald Trump and his ban of immigrants from 7 predominantly Muslim countries, as well as all refugees fleeing to the United States.
The executive orders put in place by President Trump are barbaric, inhumane and appalling. So, we took a stand.
I attended the protest organised in Plymouth city centre with some friends. This was my first ever protest, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was nervous, but I felt so strongly that this was a movement that I couldn’t ignore and that I wanted to be a part of.
It was cold, it was dark, it was raining…but when we arrived there was such a collective feeling of warmth and togetherness that those things seemed completely inconsequential.
People were gathered with their signs and placards, the creativity of which displayed how much time and thought had been put into the cause, and how deep the passions and beliefs ran in people’s minds. People were cheering, chanting, clapping, shouting; there was a collective noise of hope and strength ringing out through the crowd.
What struck me most was the incredible range and diversity of people gathered there, and it was beautiful to witness. All ages, genders, races, ethnicity, religions, cultures & personalities had come out to raise their voices, to stand in solidarity and to show support.
There was the baby with a sign displayed on his buggy saying “This is my first protest, and it won’t be my last”.
The girl who spent all day re-writing song lyrics so cleverly with an anti-trump message.
The parents with their young children holding hand-written signs with messages of peace and love.
The young girl who spoke so eloquently on the megaphone to the entire crowd about accepting people for who they are.
The gorgeous Saudi Arabian girl challenging the views of the bigoted man opposing the protest.
My American lecturer who had made signs in between her busy day of lectures and held them up proudly.
The man who told the story of his immigrant parents who made a better life for themselves and their children.
In the lead up to the protests across the country today, one of the most common trains of thought I read was “What’s the point?” “What do you think you’ll achieve from this?” “It’s not even our country, why do you care?”
The point of today; it’s about solidarity. It’s about taking a stand. It’s about using the privilege of having a voice to speak for the voiceless . It’s about showing the people being victimised and discriminated against that they are not alone in their fight, that we are on their side and we will stand with them and for them.
I would encourage everyone to use their voice in every way they can. Post about it. Tweet about it. Spread the word. Sign petitions. Educate yourself. Write about it. Protest. Join groups. Talk to people. Be a part of a movement.
If you feel strongly about a cause, then speak up. You might think one voice is not going to make a difference, but when voices join together, they can change the world.
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.”
-Martin Luther King