Boston students plan walkout Monday in protest of Trump
Students across Boston plan to walk out of their classes Monday afternoon, marching to the State House and City Hall with demands that Massachusetts leaders stand up to President-elect Donald Trump.
Organizers expect hundreds to join, including students from middle school, high school, and college. Participants will demand that Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Governor Charlie Baker protect public education and make sure everyone can feel safe in Massachusetts.
“We have to organize our young people,” said co-organizer Gabriela Pereira, a 16-year-old student at South Boston High School. “Just because we can’t vote doesn’t mean our voice doesn’t matter.”
She said many students are alarmed by Trump’s rhetoric, his policy proposals, and the people he has hired. Protesters are also asking local politicians to denounce Steve Bannon, Trump’s proposed chief White House strategist, and white supremacist movements.
Students participating in the walkout, who are scheduled to begin leaving their schools at 1 p.m., say they want to show their solidarity with undocumented immigrants, women, people of color, and LGBTQ individuals.
Protesters plan to gather on Boston Common at 2 p.m., march to the State House at 3, then rally at City Hall at 4, according to the group’s Facebook page.
This walkout follows two others earlier this year, organized by many of the same students, Pereira said.
More than 1,000 students walked out of their classrooms in March, and about 200 in May, calling for increased school funding in Boston.
In a Twitter video posted Sunday afternoon, Superintendent Tommy Chang encouraged student engagement on campus, but said students should not miss classes as they speak out.
“Peaceful advocacy for what you care about is important,” Chang said, “but not during learning time.”
Co-organizer Jhalen Williams, a 16-year-old junior at Excel High School in South Boston, said Boston Public Schools sent an automated phone message to students’ families Friday, similarly encouraging activism but discouraging absence.
“They gave support for students to use their voice, which is what we plan on doing,” Williams said.
Massachusetts College of Art and Design senior Michael Flowers, a 30-year-old collegiate coordinator for the demonstration, said students at both state and private institutions, including Boston University, Northeastern University, and University of Massachusetts Boston, plan to participate in the protest.
“A lot of college organizers are taking the lead from Boston Public School students,” Flowers said. “We’re learning a lot of tremendous lessons from these young organizers.