Community Members Rally at USM
On Nov. 14, students, faculty and Hattiesburg residents gathered at the front of The University of Southern Mississippi’s Hattiesburg campus for a peaceful rally in response to president-elect Donald Trump’s recent political victory.
Event organizer Farah Habad said he organized the demonstration to fill a “tangible void of love.”
“A protest has more of a nuance of fighting against something, and this is more of a counterbalance to something,” Habad said. “A Trump presidency does have side effects, per se, and a lot of those side effects are a perpetuation of hate, because that’s what his platform was based upon.”
Habad said he believes it is past time for minority groups to be angry.
“As someone who is an African-American, as someone who understands the hardships that come with that, as someone whose family is Muslim, I fear for my sisters walking down the street in their hijabs and being who they are,” Habad said.
USM Instructor of History and Social Studies Education Jill Abney said now may be a “scary time” for students.
“As a teacher and a teacher of teachers, I feel like the faculty should make an effort to provide safe spaces,” Abney said. “Just to be present and to be listening is an important action at this time. Making resistance or peaceful demonstration visible is a positive thing, because that’s part of being in America.”
Abney said she was proud of the individuals who participated in the demonstration.
“It’s a rally for being kind and being humane to each other in a troubled political time,” Abney said. “I’m a history-minded person, so the greatest changes that take place in our nation come from peaceful dissent. That’s the only way to force conversations about our disagreements. If I feel like certain people should treat others with kindness, I can’t sit at home and Facebook about it. I need to do something else.”
Associate Professor of Political Science Kathanne Greene said the rally was less about Donald Trump and more about “what we think real American values are.”
“What we need to do as Americans is to fight hate and do everything we can, because it’s important that we love each other,” Greene said.