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Sunday, June 16, 2024
More than 2,000 students and members of the Madison community engage in a "die-in" at the Capitol steps in solidarity with historically marginalized groups. 

More than 2,000 students and members of the Madison community engage in a "die-in" at the Capitol steps in solidarity with historically marginalized groups. 

After Trump's win, hundreds of students march to Capitol in solidarity

Following Donald Trump’s presidential win, nearly 2,500 students and community members stood in solidarity with historically marginalized groups at the steps of the Capitol Thursday night.

Members of the LGBT community, Muslim students, people of color, undocumented students, people with disabilities and several others shared their stories and called the crowd to dismiss the president-elect’s targeted rhetoric against them and focus on creating change.

Before taking off from Bascom Hill, UW-Madison student Matt Wulf spoke, calling himself an ally for his peers and arguing that he will not “sit idly by in a time so full of injustice and bigotry.”

“I want it known first thing that there really is no right way to feel right now, no one knows how to feel right now. This is a strange time,” Wulf said. “Some of us are very confused, some of us are very angry, and some of us are terrified. Speaking for myself, I feel numb.”

The group headed to Library Mall, where UW-Madison student Mariam Coker shared a poem and asked attendees to chant “Black Lives Matter” to show support.

Students from historically marginalized groups have already expressed concerns with Trump’s rhetoric and plans for action in his presidency.

The event was organized by UW-Madison students Katrina Morrison, Brooke Evans, Sally Rohrer, Kat Kerwin, Jonny Vannucci, Ali Khan, Billy Welsh and Christian Bradley.

Rohrer said the idea for the march stemmed from disbelief in whom the country had elected president and a need to come together around "common causes that we feel will be infringed upon by a Trump presidency."

Bradley, a UW-Madison freshman and Associated Students of Madison Legislative Affairs Committee member, said this protest serves to raise awareness and support individuals who may be treated as “second-hand citizens” in the next four years.

“We’re standing in solidarity with all of the affected minority groups, all the people who are losing their income, their healthcare,” Bradley said.

The organizers stand against the role of Electoral College over popular vote, according to Evans, and will support "Black Lives Matter" and call for racial justice, advocate for reproductive rights for women and other causes. They said that individuals must acknowledge the intersectionality of issues in the U.S. and use their power to fight for affected groups.

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Ella Sklaw, another UW-Madison student, voiced support for reproductive rights, saying women should be able to make decisions about their own bodies. 

She also encouraged a welcoming atmosphere for folks of all religions, sexual orientations, ethnicities and called for the end of mass incarceration. 

"Our voice matters more than it ever has," Sklaw said. "We are the children of the revolution."

As the crowd made its way to the Capitol, City of Madison Ald. Zach Wood, District 8, and Dane County Board Supervisor Hayley Young, District 5, explained why they felt it was important to show up and march.

Both underscored the concerns their constituents and friends have shared about safety and health following Trump’s win, and spoke to the need for the city and county’s elected officials to understand how people are feeling.

“Do what you can to make positive change, no matter what’s going on,” Young said. 

Yusra Murad, a UW-Madison student who spoke to the crowd about the impact Trump’s presidency could have on Muslim Americans, said Muslims across the country are facing death threats, vandalism and getting hijabs torn off just two days after the election was called.

Murad called Trump “the most Islamophobic president on the playing field.” When asked why she was marching, she said she did it for herself, her family, brothers and sisters and others.

“The idea that I now feel that I’m on a campus, I’m in a country where almost half of the nation doesn’t want me here or is willing to elect the president who would send me out of here, I’m not staying home,” Murad said. “If I can convince one person or two people that that’s wrong, then I need to do it.” 

The crowd chanted "Love trumps hate" as they moved further toward the Capitol. 

As they reached the steps of the Capitol, Michael Johnson, CEO of the Dane County Boys and Girls Club, asked everyone to lay down and take a three-minute moment of silence.

“These issues are so important. Lives are at stake,” Johnson said. 

Wisconsin state Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, addressed the crowd, saying they stand together in love, compassion, and fairness and will not stop until the state and country also embodies those values. She said the hardest part of Trump’s win was informing her 10-year-old that “the most sexist, racist, hate-filled person to run for president has been elected.”

“It’s hard to see the path forward when you’re in pain, when you’re in shock,” Taylor said. “But that path has created a movement that young people are going to lead." 

This story has been and will be updated throughout the night to include more information from the march.

Peter Coutu, Miller Jozwiak, Andrew Bahl and Jake Skubish contributed to this report. 

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