Students and other Bloomington citizens huddled together to protect themselves against the cold Wednesday evening around Showalter Fountain and carried signs on cardboard and pieces of cloth.
“He’s not my president!”
“When they go low, we go high”
“Not my America.”
A few hecklers walked by wearing red ‘Make America Great Again’ hats and yelled “Trump train!” in passing.
The crowd responded in a unified chant: “Love trumps hate”.
Students gathered to express their disbelief with Donald Trump’s election and to offer hope for those who shared their experiences with discrimination.
Luke Robbins, a sophomore who organized the rally on Facebook against Trump’s presidential election, was part of a group of students standing in front of the IU Auditorium. The group held signs saying “Love Trumps Hate,” a slogan that was repeated frequently throughout the evening.
“Before I went to bed, I was still kind of shocked that our nation voted for discrimination, racism and sexism, but that’s not going to discourage us,” Robbins said. “Hillary Clinton won more votes, so that means there’s still more of us that believe that love trumps hate.”
About 100 people attended the rally, which was open to all members of the Bloomington community. Although most of the attendees were students, some people came with their children or families to be among like-minded people after an election that seemed to legitimize discrimination.
Aubrey Pulley came to the rally with her 7 1/2-year-old daughter Esmé, who played with balloons while Pulley watched.
“She’s the future,” Pulley said. “I try to bring her places where she can see people invested in change.”
As the night grew later, students gathered in a circle to discuss their own personal experiences with discrimination. They passed a megaphone from speaker to speaker as the students told stories of dealing with homophobia, racism, sexism and ableism.
“I’m hoping that we can still walk down the street together and not have to be afraid,” Robbins, gesturing to his boyfriend, said. “That’s not what I think America is and now what I think it should be.”
Some students expressed an unwillingness to accept the results of the election.
“Part of me is afraid,” IU student Nick Fargo said. “The wound is still fresh in my heart, and I keep wishing this is some nightmare I haven’t woken up from.”
Others expressed a fear for their rights under a Trump rule.
“Religion shouldn’t be something you’re afraid to express in something called the land of the free,” IU student Emma Hammock said.
Twice during the night, students in the crowd drew together to hug each other to ease the negative tension.
The tone of the evening was hopeful, though many in the crowd were dismayed and in shock from Trump’s electoral upset.
Some students pointed to the 2018 midterm elections, which historically have a low voter turnout and an even worse turnout among young voters.
Some looked to 2020 for a chance to make Trump a one-term president.
Many students said the best defense against a conservative administration was to live vicariously and to thrive until the next opportunity to elect a leader.
“Think of something you would want to do even if Hillary Clinton had won yesterday and go and do it anyway,” IU student Conner Clark said.
“We have to stand up and fight against them,” said Kegan Ferguson, director of community outreach for the IU College Democrats. “We have to stand up and say that’s not who we are.”
Students ended on a determined note with a call to action.
“We won’t run away,” Fargo said. “I’m ready to continue the fight. Are you?”
Like what you're reading? Support independent, award-winning college journalism on this site. Donate here.