Ames, IA- September 12, 2015 was the day of the biggest football rivalry in the State of Iowa; the famous Cy-Hawk game. In Lot S-7, east of the Jack Trice Stadium, the Republican tailgating tent had scheduled GOP candidates to appear and talk to supporters. Little did they know that a group of students would be there to express their disapproval towards one particular candidate, Mr. Donald Trump.
Maria Alcivar, a first-year graduate student at Iowa State University, planned the student-led silent demonstration against bigotry that held from 1pm to a little after 3:30pm. Alcivar reached out to various student leaders from Iowa State University, University of Iowa, Drake University, DREAM Iowa, and University of Northern Iowa to hold a peaceful demonstration during Mr. Trump’s scheduled appearance. Students answered the call to action eagerly and peacefully, but the silent-demonstration had to endure harassment, insults and even physically engaging assaults from Trump and other GOP supporters. Yesterday, it was evident that Trump gathers support based on fear and anger, and that at the core of Trump supporters is, racism.
“I was empowered by the support and presence of members of the Iowa State University community and members of the University of Northern Iowa, DREAM-Iowa, Drake University, University of Iowa and Des Moines Area Community College. However, I was also scared due to the negative reactions we received as soon as we arrived to the tailgate area. I was personally harassed by three older women. One who grabbed my face and told me ‘You don’t belong in this country’. They proceeded to stand behind me as I was holding the big banner and were in close proximity to my ear saying things like ‘speak this country’s language’, ‘Do you even pay taxes?’, ‘Go back to Univision’. I find these comments and actions disturbing and fueled by racism. I know I wasn’t the only one who felt this way because other students were also approached with racist remarks. This is the type of behavior that Mr. Trump is encouraging by continually using hate-speech.”
Jovani Rubio is the student whose sign was ripped by a young woman for no other reason than to shut him down. The woman received cheers by the GOP crowd and walked away laughing. As you see in the video, her actions were antagonizing, but Jovani remained calm and continued to hold the ripped signed over his head. The sign read, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.” A Martin Luther King, Jr. quote.
“I attended Students against Bigotry protest because my family and I have been directly impacted by the statements made by Donald Trump. This event was set to be a Silent and peaceful Protest utilizing signs to represent our emotions. Although when faced by Trump’s supporters, myself and fellow students were pushed, shoved, and I myself had my poster defaced and ripped. After I saw Maria get pushed and touched by Trump’s supporters I was simply in shock. I did not expect this from Iowa State Alumni. What was to happen next is what really took me by surprise. I had my poster ripped and written on by those who supported Trump. Regardless of what would eventually happen to me, my purpose was to protest Trump. I wanted him to feel my emotion, I wanted him hear my voice. Although my sign was ripped and defaced, I knew not to retaliate. Retaliation would simply prove them right and give them the reaction that they are willing to do anything to achieve. After my poster was ripped, the blonde shrugged her shoulders posing as Donald Trump “Sorry Not Sorry’. The defacement of my poster was done by a middle aged woman who told me that what she wrote was “I love Trump”. Both actions were done against my will and without my permission. My message to the two women who ripped and defaced my poster, you can tear and deface my poster all you want because I will not stop using my voice and my right as a US citizen to speak against hatred and bigotry. Go ahead and show your hatred and racism because that is all everyone else saw. As an educated Latino leader on campus I am involved in many student organizations such as Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity Inc. and SHPE MAES both organizations founded under the principles to unite the Latino Community, the same unity that was present at the protest. For my final words I would like to quote my Fraternity motto “En La Union Esta La Fuerza” In Unity there is strength thank you all who came and supported us”.