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UNC students come together to protest political system

“Loads of people were just shocked, dismayed, disgusted, angered, upset, et cetera,” event organizer Lauren Eaves said.

Eaves said she woke up upset and she, along with the other student organizers, wanted to make a space on campus where people could collectively express their grievances.

“Our hope was that it would be a place where people could express how upset and angry and disgusted they are at a system that has created a president like Donald Trump,” Eaves said.

Organizers opened the event warning that the demonstration was not a Hillary Clinton rally, and not even an anti-Donald Trump rally.

The event was then opened for students to come speak — a line formed of people of different backgrounds.

Sophomore Jenny Kim was the first to speak and said America was not the different and loving country she thought it was when she moved here.

“That just breaks my heart, as someone who really believed in America, who worked so hard to become an American citizen, and had to learn another language to be successful here,” she said.

Kim said she hears people talking about the need for more doctors and scientists.

“The disease that is affecting our country is not a disease of the body, but it’s a disease of the soul,” she said.

Speakers said they were worried for LGBTQ family members whose marriages may be jeopardized. Other students said they feared social programs like FAFSA would be cut — the only way they could afford college.

Suad Jabr, a sophomore of Palestinian heritage, spoke about hope.

“A lot of people are upset, angry and hopeless,” Jabr said. “I thought that it would be important to come together and reconcile our frustrations in the hopes of moving forward and dismantling the systems of oppression that keep us all complacent.”

Many students just came to listen.

“It was a matter of seeing what people were showing up about and where all this energy could be channeled,” senior Sharanya Thiru said. “I knew that I was upset, but it was very clear to me there has to be direction going forward. It’s a nice space to start.”

Junior Treasure Williams said the event had its ups and its downs.

“Some people gave some passionate stuff from the heart about the pain,” Williams said.

“I am feeling the pain as well. But some came up and was blatantly ignorant. This is white America’s problem. You created this system. You enabled this. You fed it. You nurtured it. You kept it close to your heart. You embraced it at Thanksgiving and Christmas and now we’re — people like me, people of color, women — if you are anything that’s not a white man you are feeling the pain because of this decision now.”

Organizer Nagwa Nukuna said, while it got off to a rough start, the demonstration served its purpose.

“There were really problematic people there who, I think, co-opted the space at times and didn’t really understand that it was not for them at this particular moment ...but, generally people understood the intention and appreciated what it was,” Nukuna said. “And I think some really heart-felt, relatable, statements were made that helps create a connection with others.”

Nukuna said the demonstration was a mobilizer that gave her hope, but it is not over. The student organizers are scheduled to meet next Wednesday.

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“That was good, but it doesn’t feel like enough,” Eaves said.