Get ready for Friday Jan. 20th: PSU student walkout

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'Not My President' flyer seen widely distributed around the PSU campus. Photo credit: Andy Ngo

The phrase ‘NOT MY PRESIDENT’ can be seen all over Portland State’s campus walls in anticipation for Friday, Jan. 20th, where PSU student group Inauguration Day Action Coalition will be leading a student walkout and rally in the PSU Park Blocks at approximately 2pm.

Those attending the walkout have been encouraged by the IDAC and Portland Resistance member, Gregory McKelvey, to join a larger rally that begins 4pm and is located downtown at Pioneer Square.

Jan. 20th is set to platform the historical event of Donald J. Trump’s Presidential Inauguration as the 45th President of the United States of America. Trump’s journey to the White House, since the Nov. 8th 2016 election, has been heavily protested across the US and has since inspired the collaboration of PSU student groups to create the Inauguration Day Action Coalition.

Coalition member and PSU student, Donald Thompson III, wrote to the Vanguard, “The IDAC is a student run group, a coalition that includes several student groups with distinct ideologies and political affiliations, students previously unaffiliated with any specific activist group and some faculty members.”

The widely distributed “Not My President” event flyers for the IDAC walkout claim to be lead by members from PSU student groups and affiliates such as the International Socialist Organization, PSU Student Union, Portland Socialist Alternative, ASPSU, Muslim Student Association, and Marilyn Buck Abolitionist Collective.

According to this flyer, the organized efforts of these groups are “in response to the undemocratic election of an admitted homophobic transpobic anti-immigrant islamaphobic racist rapist to the office of president.” Thompson did not state whether or not the flyer was specifically distributed by the IDAC itself.

“The IDAC embraces the position that it is necessary, now and in the upcoming years, to actively resist the Trump administration,” wrote Thompson. The inspiration behind the group’s formation also involves organizers who “wished to use their activist networks to serve as a catalyst for this resistance,” Thompson added.

Thompson acknowledged that the intentions of IDAC’s call to action are “manifold” and were outlined the following statement, “It is important to show, tangibly, that our campus community means to call fascism what it is, that we mean to resist it.”

The IDAC intends to not only direct this toward the Trump administration, but to use their ‘anti-fascist’ platform to send the following message to “those of us in the community who are the targets of Trump’s agenda.”

“We commit to solidarity with and beside you,” wrote Thompson. “We refuse, loudly, to be complacent while the structures-that-be allow, facilitate or actively pursue the destruction of your rights.”

Thompson added that the IDAC’s formation is an attempt to “sow the seeds of solidarity here on our campus. By bringing members of the community together for the same purpose, we set the stage for all those that participate to become involved, politically or otherwise, with our community, campus and city.”

According to Thompson, students who are participating in the walkout and rally can expect to hear speakers discuss “how they can help empower and protect the marginalized members of our community, how the Trump campaign and its subsequent election effect members of our community, what active resistance looks like, what it means to be a ‘sanctuary campus’, and [the notion of] ‘what comes next’.”

The IDAC plans to move the rally and become a feeder march that will ultimately join other groups such as the Portland Resistance. “That rally is shaping up to be massive and will begin at around 4 PM,” wrote Thompson.

PR member, Gregory McKelvey, released an official media statement for the “massive rally” and reiterated similar sentiments shown on the “Not My President” flyers. The PR-led rally is set to begin as early as 3:30 pm and plans to march at 5:30pm.

PR is amongst several other organized activist groups who are planning to protest Trump’s presidency. Don’t Shoot Portland actively protested the election results at the same as PR, but there has not been an official acknowledgement of any plans to join alongside PR during the event. According to DSP’s Facebook, the group plans to meet at the Max station located on East 162nd Ave in Gresham, Oregon at 1pm.

“Portland’s Resistance does not speak for every single protester because protesters are not a homogenous bloc,” wrote McKelvey. “We do however advocate our strategies for safe marches and effective dissent.”

McKelvey stressed the importance of peaceful protesting and maintaining accessibility for all participants to “ensure that no one is at home feeling invisible or in the crowd feeling unsafe.”

“We reject the assumption that non-peaceful protesters are necessarily “violent” and encourage the media to move past this binary,” wrote McKelvey. “As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “A riot is the language of the unheard,” we need to move past the first level analysis of simply condemning actions we don’t agree with and [to] rather consider why so many people feel unheard in this political climate.”

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