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On Monday, December 5, students across Boston gathered together in protest of the Trump Administration. Class of 2016 alumnus Adnan Malek took an active role in helping students to organize the march and protest.
Malek currently works closely with students as a Project Coordinator at Boston Student Advisory Council, but he credits his time as a student at Emmanuel for instilling in him the desire to pursue work in education, service, and social justice. He specifically credits professors Kelly McGuire, Chris Craig, and Monique Callahan, as well as Sister Karen for helping him to see the world through critical, historical, and political contexts.
The protest was comprised of students from Boston Public Schools and numerous Boston colleges. Students across the city collectively walked out of their classes on Monday, December 5 and established a student-led resistance against the Trump administration.
Students weren’t protesting to remove the President-Elect from the office, but rather to protect Massachusetts from some of the more harmful aspects of the Trump administration.
“It was exciting because it was probably the first time that high school and college students have banded together to create a movement like this,” said Malek.
The walkout had five specific demands: protecting public education, vulnerable students and families, declaring Massachusetts and Boston sanctuaries, denouncing white supremacist cabinet appointments, and standing with Standing Rock. Students marched to City Hall to voice these demands to both Marty Walsh, Mayor of Boston, and Charlie Baker, Governor of Massachusetts.
Malek said that his favorite part of the walkout were the student chants outside of Mayor Walsh’s office, and described the unity and power of the students as “super energizing and inspiring.”
Student delegates were sent in to meet directly with Walsh and Baker, but were instead met with representatives.
“It wasn’t exactly what was hoped for, but the students proved that they had voices that needed to be heard and a lot of attention was attracted along the way,” said Malek.
The following morning, Mayor Walsh denounced the walkout over the radio. He urged students not to miss classes, and accused adults of using the youth to further political agendas. Malek said that this type of reaction is an “adultist assumption.” Malek instead credited the students for their political enthusiasm, as well as their ability to organize such a large-scale movement.
Even though these students aren’t yet old enough to vote, they will arguably be the most affected by the long-term implications of the Trump presidency.
“Their fears and frustrations in that context are totally justified,” said Malek.
While he was inspired by the students’ passion in voicing issues to local government, Malek is nonetheless disappointed that education has become such a partisan issue.
“You can’t be in support of certain things that might seem like moral imperatives–equal and public education for all, restorative justice, anti-discrimination policies, declaring schools sanctuaries, or even climate change education–without being put into particular boxes like liberal or politically correct, and this becomes just so reductive for any kind of messages you’re trying to send,” he said.
There was an alt-right presence that trolled the Facebook event, and Malek was frustrated at seeing students have to defend themselves against the hostile rhetoric. He admired how they handled themselves in the face of adversity, crediting their maturity and political awareness.
Malek was introduced to the walkout by a few students that he works with who were involved with the movement through theYouth Organizers United for the Now Generation Coalition (YOUNG). His role was mostly logistical, ensuring the safety of the students throughout the walkout, but he was humbled simply to be involved.
For current students who are interested in political involvement, Malek recommends heading over to MassArt on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. to join the YOUNG Coalition’s meetings, or emailing Stephanie Houten at email@example.com for more information.
Emery Veilleux ’20 is the Assistant Managing Editor and a Staff Writer for the Hub. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org