UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS — UI students took to the streets to protest election results and, as they chanted, the group continued to grow.
A few hundred people gathered at the heart of campus to voice fears for the future and, all over campus, support groups formed throughout the day.
Some say it’s a tough time right now, especially for groups which felt attacked by Trump’s campaign, but they say they’re hopeful for the future. Others aren’t there yet.
“We feel alone. That’s why this rally is here,” said UI senior, Jaime Nolasco.
Nolasco wasn’t alone. He organized the rally which started with dozens and ended with hundreds.
“This is great. This rally is meant to be inclusive, to voice everyone’s opinion, regardless of who or where you come from or who you are and it’s great seeing so many people here. It’s something that unites us, has us in solidarity,” said Nolasco.
Down the street, a much quieter protest; one which addressed problems and solutions.
“Let’s see where we can meet in the middle, somewhere, for peace for everyone.” said UI Assistant Professor Janice Collins.
Collins hosted a safe place where students could come together and talk about their fears. She said it’s important to take a time of hurt for some and turn it into a time of understanding for all.
“No one person can do it alone. My hope lies in all of the individuals that are in this country, on both sides of the coin, on both sides of the page, on five places of the page in the fold, are going to come together and say ‘this is our country,'” said Collins.
Students say they hope it starts with their own university.
“To back us up, to make us feel safe, to let these students, who are here today, know that they’re safe, that the administration has our back,” said Nolasco.
“You have to be optimistic and, as I said, I tell everyone, even when there’s a storm, always look for the rainbow, because it’s there. You just have to look for it,” said Collins.
The UI issued a mass mailing letting students know however they wish to grieve or protest, staff will make sure they are safe to do so. If they do feel threatened, links to resources to address the problem were provided.
There were several events on campus where students could address their concerns. There was a protest at Alma Mater, the Hear My Voice gathering and a panel discussion on the election results.