Hundreds of students walk out of Boston schools, colleges
Hundreds of students from Boston high schools and local colleges walked out of class Monday to rally on Boston Common, calling on local political leaders to speak out against President-elect Donald Trump.
The students delivered a list of demands to Governor Charlie Baker and Mayor Martin J. Walsh, asking the officials to protect minorities and immigrants, support public education, and denounce white nationalists who have been energized by a Trump victory.
Some said their fear of a Trump presidency is personal. Many of those who held signs and chanted in the wet cold were minorities or immigrants who said they felt threatened by Trump’s campaign.
“I came here for a new future and then the government is going to mess the country up,” said Santiago Quiceno, 16, an undocumented student from Colombia who attends Charlestown High School. Trump has threatened to step up deportations of illegal immigrants.
According to Boston Public Schools, 282 students left class early. The crowd on Boston Common was around 200 and was made up of high school and college students, including a large contingent from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.
The crowd chanted “No Trump! No KKK! No fascist USA!” and “Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcomed here!”
Quiceno held a sign that said “Undocumented Unafraid!” as he and others marched from the pavilion on the common to the State House, where about 50 students were stopped behind a blue velvet rope barring them from the governor’s office.
“The governor is unavailable,” two staff members told the students, who refused to leave.
“We can’t vote and we don’t donate to him, but we are people and we care,” Jasper Garcia, 15, told the staffers.
The staffers took notes about the students’ demands and said they would deliver them to the governor, but the students weren’t satisfied.
“In my AP US government class I learned that the power of government comes from the people,” said Yvan Martinez, 19, who moved to the United States from Peru and said he is about to receive his legal residency.
The students asked Baker to denounce Steve Bannon, who has been tapped to become one of Trump’s top White House advisers.
Bannon has been accused of promoting racist, anti-Semitic, and white nationalist views — allegations that he and Trump have rebutted.
As 10 state troopers in neon yellow jackets stood by, one student offered staffers a way to contact Baker.
“FaceTime him, bro!” yelled Alpha Bah, 15, a student at Roxbury Prep High School.
Students and a few adults eventually sat on the marble floors outside the office for about half an hour before leaving around 4:30 p.m.
A spokeswoman for Baker said the governor would ensure that Massachusetts is safe for all residents.
“The Baker-Polito Administration rejects all forms of racism and discrimination,’’ communications director Lizzy Guyton said in a statement.
After leaving the State House, the students marched to City Hall and read the same demands to Walsh. The mayor wasn’t there, but City Hall staff accepted the message.
The mayor, in a statement, said students would be better served by remaining in class.
“I think there’s going to be plenty of opportunities for us to work together and figure out how we move forward as a city and as a country,’’ Walsh said. “But right now, our children’s priority should be getting an education.’’
Students from Fenway High School said their classmates have felt let down and disappointed since Trump’s election, many crying. Many families are Latino, they said, and worry about being deported.
Those concerns persuaded Fenway student Gio Bonilla, 17, and two classmates to skip class for the rally. “Many people just push our voice to the side because we are minors,” Bonilla said. “There should be no hate in 2016.”