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“These Are Not Normal Times”: Hundreds of NYC Students Walk Out to Protest Trump & DeVos

Web ExclusiveFebruary 08, 2017
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Hundreds of New York public school students walked out of class Tuesday to protest the policies of President Trump. The protest came on the same day the Senate confirmed billionaire Betsy DeVos for education secretary, after a historic tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence.

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

HEBH JAMAL: Today, you all have decided to walk out of your classrooms. For many of us, this comes at a considerable risk. We have done this today because we realize that these are not normal times. We cannot go to school, to class, to our exams, as if things were normal.

So, my name is Hebh Jamal. I’m a senior at Beacon High School. I’m 17 years old. What brought me out here, honestly, is the idea that students, you know, need to have an impact, the idea that students are the resistance.

PROTESTERS: Donald Trump has got to go! Hey hey, ho ho! Donald Trump has got to go!

HEBH JAMAL: We don’t want to just yell at the streets and, you know, have people say that, oh, we just wanted to leave school, and that was that. We want to show people that, actually, we are students who demand justice, and we are going to fight and pressure those in power at every single level to get that.

PROTESTERS: When Muslims are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back!

CEYLON CHANG: My name is Ceylon Chang, and I go to St. Ann’s School. So, I didn’t get to vote this year. I know a lot of people say, you know, New York City votes, they don’t really matter. But still, it is your voice. And I think protests, for me, throughout high school, have been my way to express my voice, when I often cannot legally and politically, you know, express what I think matters.

PROTESTERS: Love trumps hate! Love trumps hate! Love trumps hate!

SAAD SHUAIB: My name is Saad Shuaib, and I go to Academy of American Studies. I cut sixth period. I’m out here today because I find it outrageous that fellow human beings—I don’t give a—I don’t care if you’re Muslim. I don’t care if you’re gay. I don’t care if you’re transgender. I don’t care who the hell you are. But this country is about letting everybody be here and everybody getting—giving them a chance to exist.

PROTESTERS: No hate! No fear! Immigrants are welcome here!

GERELL FRAZIER: I’m Gerell Frazier, and I go to Beacon High School. I just feel disappointed because I just feel like myself, my ancestry, who this country was built off of their backs, I feel like we’ve just been stepped on, like we’ve just been like spit on and like thrown to the side as if we don’t matter. With every one of Trump’s policies, that’s how I feel.

PROTESTERS: DeVos has got to burn, 'cause we've got to learn! DeVos has got to burn, 'cause we've got to learn!

TIM MARKBREITER: My name is Tim Markbreiter, and I got to the NYC High School. So, just now, actually, just a few minutes ago, there was a tie in the vote for Betsy DeVos, and so Mike Pence got the last vote, because of the tie, and she got confirmed, obviously, because of his conservative agenda, which—I mean, personally, I go to public school, and I think I value the education I get so much, and I’m just stunned that this country, after everything that’s going on and after all the division, that this billionaire woman, who never even went to a public school, got confirmed. It’s really—it’s really—it hurts me.

MAYA BRADY-NGUGI: My name is Maya Brady-Ngugi, and I go to Bard High School Early College. She’s kind of like wanting to monetize education. That’s—what we stand for is that every single child gets an education. And she’s not going to be here for that. And that scares me a lot, because this is a privilege that needs to be given to everyone.

PROTESTERS: No hate! No fear! Refugees are welcome here! No hate! No fear! Refugees are welcome here!

MILAN MATTHES-KALE: My name’s Milan Matthes-Kale. Well, personally, being a 15-year-old in this world, I am scared for my future. And I think that because it’s the older generation who’s saying that to us, they’re the ones who really [bleep] us over by letting Trump become our president and by letting this whole thing go down. And it’s our job to fix it now, since they clearly can’t get their act together to fix it. And I personally think that it is our right to fight, and it is really necessary for us to fight, because if we don’t, then no one will.

PROTESTERS: We vote next! We vote next! We vote next! We vote next!

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