FIU Students Plan a Trump Walkout Wednesday

Over the weekend, a Columbia University professor from Turkey, N. Turkuler Isiksel, shared his best advice for fighting Donald Trump if his administration turns toward autocracy.

"Protest early and often," wrote Isikel, who lived through the rise of the democratically elected strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He added, "We must claim public squares before Trump takes office, marching in droves and communicating a clear message that his brand of autocracy shall not pass."

So far, Miami is following his advice. Over the weekend, protesters shut down I-95. Now, this Wednesday, Florida International University students will join a growing movement of students and stage a walkout from 3 to 6 p.m.

"On November 16th, we are calling on all students to join the movement to declare their campuses a #SanctuaryCampus and commit to putting our bodies between Trump and undocumented students," the organizers write. "We are already seeing students rise up on our own — but we must create national solidarity to create a massive resistance against Donald Trump and to demand permanent protection, dignity, and respect for all immigrants."

The protesters say they'd like to declare FIU a "Sanctuary Campus" — a safe space for undocumented immigrants. Since Trump's election, entire university systems have announced they'll work to protect undocumented immigrants. Janet Napolitano, who heads the University of California system, said this week that she'll sit down with undocumented immigrant students to discuss how her department can best help them. High-school students in Los Angeles also staged walkouts today.

FIU's protesters say they're joining that movement.

"It's time that we unite to protect our most vulnerable people — including undocumented immigrants, Black people, Muslims, Queer people, and all people of color," the FIU organizers write.

The event's main organizer, Tyler Jonathon Allen, did not immediately respond to a message from New Times.

The student-focused protest comes after thousands of demonstrators shut down I-95 and the MacArthur Causeway Friday night while chanting "Love Trumps hate!" through the streets. The protests were nonviolent — neither arrests nor vandalism was reported. A smaller group of protesters also demonstrated at Saturday night's Wynwood Art Walk.

This past Sunday, hundreds took to the streets in downtown Fort Lauderdale. Though there was one arrest, the protest otherwise remained peaceful.

Over the weekend, Trump appointed Stephen Bannon, an anti-Semite who runs the racist, sexist, alt-right website Breitbart, as his chief strategist. Critics — including the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League, which track hate crimes — have demanded that Bannon be removed from his post. John Weaver, a Republican strategist for John McCain, tweeted that Bannon's appointment meant the "racist, fascist extreme right is represented footsteps from the Oval Office. Be very vigilant, America."

In response, FIU's organizers say they want to make sure Miami remains a safe place for immigrants.

"We must amplify each other and rise up together in the face of Trump," Allen, the FIU organizer, writes.


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