AUBURN, Ala.- Monday night, dozens of Auburn students gathered on the university’s greenspace to hold a peaceful protest.
Cat Thompson, a senior at Auburn said the event felt more like a unity rally, that provided a safe space for people who felt afraid after the election, especially those in marginalized groups.
Thompson said she felt the night sent a message that the campus is looking out for them, and they will not let hate or division get to them.
“There are quotes that say, first they came for this person and I didn’t do anything, and then they came for me and there was no one to stand up for me, and I really believe in that,” Thompson said. “If I let one person be done wrong, one day they’ll come for me and do me wrong, so I feel it is absolutely important to stand next to people who feel oppressed and feel as though they are not heard.”
Thompson said there was a misconception that the night was protesting Donald Trump winning the presidency. Thompson said the students have accepted that Trump will be the next president, and they wish him the best, but they did not stand for some of the things he has said.
Junior, Jenny Lincoln also attended the event. She and others felt the night was peaceful and brought together many different folks with opposing viewpoints and would hopefully send a message to the rest of the country.
“We can have organized, peaceful debates here without it being violent, without it erupting into something that can’t be controlled or have the police monitor it,” Lincoln said. “There were debates going on between two different sides, a lot of conservatives and liberals came to this. They were debating peacefully. People would throw in there opinions, and then we would acknowledge that and give our side to it.”
Auburn University released the following statement after the event:
“Freedom of speech and the right to peaceably assemble are embedded in our Constitution, and Auburn supports those rights. The recent election has generated strong opinions and emotions, and we encourage the campus community to use this opportunity to foster constructive dialogue toward solving some of our nation’s most critical challenges. Voicing concern is good, but combining it with action plans to strengthen our communities is even better. In the process, we must be vigilant in respecting others’ opinions and understanding our differences in backgrounds, perspectives and experiences.”