- Really terrifying,’ a student recalls!
“A policeman looked me in the eye as one of the guards (an older caucasian male) dragged me out of there. This was not a place of love.” – Corey Bush ‘19.
A group of students from Berea College, under the name “Bereans for Mike Brown (B4MB),” attended the March 1 rally in Louisville to protest Republican frontrunner Donald Trump. B4MB coordinated with other activist groups in the Louisville area, to form a delegation of nearly a hundred people. Their goal was to peacefully protest the racism, inequality and the ignorance that was being promoted there, said Bush. “There were a long list of aggressions that I witnessed,” Bush said.
Before entering the Kentucky International Convention Center, where the rally was conducted, Bush noticed a man saying, “We don’t want Muslims in America.” According to a report by the Southern Poverty Law Center, anti-Muslim hate group are a “relatively new phenomenon” in the U.S., most appearing after the 9/11 attacks in New York City. Donald Trump began targeting Muslims in November when he told Yahoo News that they should wear badges and register before entering the country.
As Bush and his fellow protesters approached the entrance of the convention center, Bush said he spotted one of the vendors selling buttons that said “Hot chicks vote for Trump.” Bush recalled sneaking into the venue, hiding his protest material to avoid being ousted by security and Trump supporters.
“Once we started chanting I got gum in my hair, someone rolled up their sign and screeched into my ear to shut up. An older veteran started pushing on us; he was the one in the viral video that was pushing on Shiya [Nwanguma],” said Bush, referring to the University of Louisville student who was seen being pushed around at the March 1 rally by several Trump supporters and white supremacists.The veteran, who was identified as Al Bamberger, insisted that he is not a racist, reported Kellan Howell in a March 9 article in The Washington Times.
Bush observed that the makeup of the Trump supporters was predominantly caucasian middle-aged men, while most of the protesters were minority females.“I just thought that was interesting” said Bush. The police did not stop the people pushing and attacking us; the police just wanted to get us out of there, it was not a place of love.”
Alicia Crocker ‘19, also a member of B4MB, recalled waiting for two hours before the rally started. “All of us felt really uncomfortable and some of us even felt nauseous standing in a room full of people who support a hate campaign like Trump,” said Crocker. “We saw kids holding signs that said ‘Trump,’ and it was really awful because they’re too young to have a political opinion.” Crocker said that when someone who looked Hispanic walked by, people started chanting, “Build a wall.” Fellow coordinators reported that similar verbal abuses were targeting other minorities, she said. “There was so much racial tension and aggression going on at the rally, it was awful,” said Crocker. “I think I was kind of numb. I wasn’t really afraid; I probably would’ve pissed myself if I was. I’m glad I was able to put that wall up. But thinking back on it, it was really terrifying.”
Berea College students were few among many victims of hatred and violence at recent Trump rallies. News and police reports between Feb.29 and March 14 reveal that there were at least 20 incidents of physical violence at Trump rallies, including force used by security, reported the Huffington Post in a March 17 article titled, “Violence and Arrests at Trump Rallies Are Way More Common Than You May Think.” Four cases involving assault and physical harassment were filed after the Louisville rally, according the article.