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Nine Luther students protest a Trump rally

Nine Luther students traveled to Rochester, Minnesota to march in the

Nine Luther students traveled to Rochester, Minnesota to march in the "Greater Than Fear Rally and March."

Photo courtesy of Jenny Hickey ('19)

Photo courtesy of Jenny Hickey ('19)

Nine Luther students traveled to Rochester, Minnesota to march in the "Greater Than Fear Rally and March."

Aidan O'Driscoll, Staff Writer

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A group of nine Luther students traveled to Rochester, Minnesota on Thursday, Oct. 4 to march and protest in opposition of President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again Rally” held at the Mayo Civic Center.

The protest, officially called the “Greater Than Fear Rally and March,” was put together by a number of Rochester organizations including Communities United for Rochester Empowerment, Rochester for Justice, and Community Interfaith Dialogue on Islam.

According to Asha Aden (‘20), the group gathered at Soldiers Field Veterans Memorial shortly before noon, where they chanted, listened to music, and conversed with fellow attendees before marching through the downtown Rochester area. They eventually finished where they began: Soldiers Field.

Aden, a Rochester native, worked with CURE over the last two summers and has watched them grow steadily within the community. Having connections in the Rochester area, Aden was quick to gather a group of Luther students to join her at the march.

“I think it went wonderfully,” Aden said. “The speeches were powerful; the people there were amazing. It felt like one big community united in love — that’s what the message was — all for love and no negativity absolutely whatsoever.”

Photo courtesy of Jenny Hickey (’19)
Asha Aden (’20) organized a group of Luther students to protest the Trump rally on Thursday, Oct. 4.

Co-founder of Rochester for Justice Heidi Wilkins helped organize the march. Like Aden, she also felt that the event served to promote a loving atmosphere.

“All of these beautiful people were there, talking about love,” Wilkins said. “All of our organizers were very happy with the turnout, especially for midday in Rochester. The crowd that came out was great to see.”

Given the recent senate hearing and FBI investigation regarding confirmed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s alleged sexual assault of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, Jenny Hickey (‘19) attended the march with a specific motive in mind.

“One of the biggest reasons why I went to this [march] is in relation to Kavanaugh and the rhetoric that is being passed around about believing survivors,” Hickey said. “I am on NASA [Norse Against Sexual Assault] so that is kind of my focus in activism. As a survivor myself, hearing rhetoric like that and the lack of belief is really frustrating, so I went to try and bring voice to that.”

Hickey feels as though it is her — and every person’s — civic duty to be politically active by attending rallies such as this.

“There is this term — the ‘civic duty’ is what Dr. Ford said when she came forward — she felt like it was her civic duty to speak up and so I kind of felt that as well,” Hickey said. “I have struggled feeling like these rallies are not big enough, like I am just one person going to this, but if everyone has that mentality and then there are these large groups going, change is going to be made. I just hope I will make little ripples and it will spread along.”

Associate Professor of Political Science and Chair of the Political Science Department Carly Hayden Foster is excited about Luther students at political events.

“I think it is great that students went up there — whether you are protesting or supporting — I think it is great that they are getting involved in politics,” Foster said. “It is a good learning experience to see what those rallies are like in person. You can get a perception of what it is like on TV, but to actually be there in person gives you a more dynamic understanding of what is going on.”

Foster noted that protesting serves a number of functions including the venting of frustration and strong feelings, the building of solidarity within a group, and the motivating of others to take action in order to alter whatever issue they are passionate about.

“Especially when we are getting close to a midterm election, voter turnout is very much connected to how strongly people feel about issues and candidates,” Foster said. “Protesting can be a way of both demonstrating and generating more support and more emotion around those issues that maybe will end up meaning more people will vote.”

Inside the Mayo Civic Center later that evening, Trump campaigned for a number of Minnesota Republican politicians, including U.S. Senate candidate Karin Housley, and Jim Hagedorn, who is running for an open congressional seat in the first congressional district. Additionally, Trump confronted topics including the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement that is set to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, the upcoming midterms, and the senate hearing and FBI investigation regarding Brett Kavanaugh’s alleged sexual assault.

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