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Election sparks controversy and dialogue on Rainier campus

By Ariana Medina

Staff Writer

On Nov. 8, 2016, many students from all over the Bay Area felt a sense of hopelessness and sadness due to the election results; those feelings are still strong to this day on the campus of Summit Public School: Rainier. A small charter school located in East San Jose, Summit Rainier was one of the many schools that had a student walkout; in this case, at 11 a.m. on Nov. 10. The walkout was planned by a group of students, and the message was spread through social media. Roughly 150 to 200 students participated in this walkout.  

Leaders from the clubs Black and Brown Students United and Pan-American Voices were big supporters of the walkout. The leaders from each of these clubs shared how they noticed a negative emotional impact on students and how they’ve worked to address those concerns. 

Idris Alexander is a senior; he is currently the President of BBSU for Summit Rainier.

  1. What made you want to create BBSU? 

“I created BBSU because I realized there was a lack of black and brown empowerment and pride in my community, and I knew that I could be a great leader and create a space for people like me.”

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Rainier senior Idris Alexander

2. Do you feel like this club is educating the students at Rainier about their identity?

“Yes, I do feel as if our club helps educate students about their identity. We try to understand and empathize with many cultures and learn what we can to teach.”

3. What did you know about the candidates prior to the election day? “I try not to follow politics because I tend to get really hot-headed and angry, so all I really knew was that he was better than the other and both were not that great.”

4. How did you and BBSU, as black and brown students, react to the election results? “Like most of my peers, no matter the race, I felt hurt and betrayed. As a black gay male, I felt naive to think that America had progressed from what I call classic America. I was disappointed to know that over a century after slavery there is still so much hate.”

5. How do you think having Donald Trump as president will affect people of color? 

“Having Donald Trump as a president, I feel, has caused POC to become pessimistic and defensive. We now, more than ever, automatically assume that people are out to get us, which is truly a sad way to live.”

6. What did you hope that the walkout would achieve?

“I knew the walkout wouldn’t get Trump out of office; I just wanted it to allow people to vent and to feel like this election has not silenced them, show them that their voice and opinions can still make a difference on society.”

7. Do you think the walkout met these expectations?

“I still feel like there was some confusion, but for those who fully understood the point of the walkout, the expectations were met. Maybe even surpassed because I notice POC students felt more powerful on campus and more confident in their ability to do and be a part of something progressive.”

8. Do you think it made students of color feel more safe and supported within the school community?

“I do feel that students feel safer and more supported because I feel safer and more supported. I know students that can come to me or my peers who also lead for any advice or to vent or anything. We are one big family here to support each other.”

9. Do you think there will be more organized protests that include the school community?

“I know there will be more organized protests, maybe not as largely scaled, but there will be more.”

10. How else can the school come together to make students feel like they have an outlet for support?

“More ways student can come together other than walkouts could be through clubs like BBSU and Pan-America, by having Socratics on issues they are against or for, even just asking questions and sharing the answer with their peers. Anything that starts a progressive conversation between students bring our community closer.”

 

Luis Morales is a senior and President/Founder of the Pan-American club at Summit Rainier.

 

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Rainier senior Luis Morales

 

1.What made you want to create Pan-American?

“During the summer I signed up for a program called Chicano Latino Youth Project that was taking place in UC Berkeley. This program taught me more in-depth about how today we have a chance to receive a higher level of education. Due to that, I reflected on how Summit did not have a club in which it is focused on the voice of the students.”

2. Do you feel like this club is educating the students at Rainier about their identity? 

“I believe it has given them more knowledge on other ethnicities. I also truly believe it has given them a better perspective of their own identity.”

  1. What did you know about the candidates prior to the election day?

I knew that Donald Trump was dissing on many races, but specified more on Mexicans. I also know that he wanted to focus more on taxes, which on one hand benefits him, because in my opinion, I bet he hasn’t paid any. Clinton had many good ideas trying to make taxes fair on everyone. Attempting to make more jobs, housing, and all-around equality. However, lies like the emails did make me doubt her.”

  1. How did you and Pan-American, as Latino students, react to the election results?

“I personally was pretty mad, and still am. Not only for the fact that Donald Trump won, but also how many states could elect someone who has separated America a lot. I knew for a fact I wasn’t the only one, so, the day after the election, I held a meeting in which I let the club members and students not from the club talk. This talk slowly led to the school walkout.”

  1. How do you think having Donald Trump as president will affect POC?

“Donald Trump has affected POC ever since his decision to run for president. He has brought the inner hate hidden inside of people. He’s made many lose trust of others. I just hope we can build it back so that POC can live more in peace.”

  1. What did you hope that the walkout would achieve?

“For me, the walkout was never to seek or demand change. And I believe that’s where many people got it all wrong. For me, the goal of the walkout was to assure students and the community that no matter what the pelos de maíz says, we will stick together. Hence the chant, ‘The people united, will never be divided.’”

  1. Do you think the walkout met these expectations?

“Somewhat yes. However, I wish I could have built a panel, or some kind of educational system or presentation to tell the students the real reasons for the walkouts.”

  1. Do you think it made students of color feel more safe and supported within the school community?

“I do believe it has made them feel a lot better. But again, I feel like we still have a lot to do in order to assure that they feel safe.”

  1. Do you think there will be more organized protests that include the school community?

“Of course there will be. Now that we have made a first walkout, we know our flaws and where we can work on. Next protest or walkout will be better planned and coordinated.”

  1. How else can the school come together to make students feel like they have an outlet for support?

“I think the school could organize some sort of potluck or movie night or an event in which teachers and students get a time to talk to each other outside of the classroom. I believe this could potentially build a much better and safe community than it already is, and I truly believe that this could influence students’ positivity with others.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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