Close to 800 people showed up to a peaceful protest against Donald Trump’s visit to West High School in Sioux City, Iowa last Tuesday October 22.
The protest was organized by current and former students of West High School. At West HS, Latinos make up about 29 percent of the school’s diverse population.
Francisco Valadez , who graduated from West HS in 2012, along with his brother Luis and uncle Ismael Valadez were the organizers of the protest
“I am a former graduate of west high and my sister is a current student and my team and I were motivated to organize this protest because we were worried about the safety of the students at West High School and our community,” Francisco Valadez said. “Donald Trumps speeches cause his supporters to not just verbally, but physically attack the protesters and everything he says is against the schools anti-bullying policy.”
“I think the protest was a success,” Ismael Valadez added. “We had a great turnout of over 800 people. Looking through the crowd you would see a diverse group, united as a community. We as a community, showed the school district and Donald trump that we are against bullying, and his hateful words that produce it.”
The protest attracted participants from all over the state of Iowa. Christian Ucles the Political Director for LULAC Iowa was present organizing and signing people up to vote.
“What we saw today was an amazing display of Latino strength, Latino power and Latino support among our own community,” Ucles said with awe. “I was really proud to see the young activists who put together something in a five day window and they had amazing numbers.”
Ucles used the opportunity to get more Latinos involved in the Iowa caucus.
“I was really excited to participate in this. We signed up over 80 people to register to vote and 100 others to volunteer for future events,” he shared. “It was great to see there was a community there not just of Latinos, but others as well there to support us.”
Maria Alcivar, an ISU graduate student, made the trip from Ames, Iowa to be part of this event.
“Going to Sioux City was Long but worth it. It was such an incredible event. So many people from old to very young kids were at the rally. It was super empowering to see so many people together black, brown, whites for the same cause.” Alcivar told about her experience.
Alcivar along with Ucles and the Valadez family agree that Trump has served as a motivator for Latinos to finally get more involved in politics.
“There were people from all over Iowa and some from South Dakota and Nebraska. It was really cool. I’m really happy the community is finally uniting. Trump has woken the sleepy giant,” Alcivar said with enthusiasm.
“Sioux City is showing us that there is a yearning for leadership between the Latino community… and I think it’s a matter of turning that anger or disappointment from Trump and turning it into votes,” Ucles added.
Photos courtesy of Maria Alcivar