How to Build a Movement? One Step at Time, Literally

By Rebecca Croog and Sachio Ko-yin  

 

On Friday, January 20th, dozens of Temple students walked out of their classrooms at 1pm in protest of Trump’s platform and in solidarity with the many fights for justice that have been mobilizing across the nation. After convening at the Bell Tower, a popular meeting spot on campus, students heard from a host of speakers from different organizations that sponsored the event. Organizations included Socialist Alternative, Temple University Graduate Students Association, and Stadium Stompers, which is a coalition of North Philadelphia residents, Temple students, and workers working together to build community power.

 

Jared Dobkins, an organizer of the walkout and a member of both Socialist Alternative and Stadium Stompers, commented that his group organized the event “in response to massive protests we saw throughout the country.” He emphasized that the walkout was spreading “not only an anti-Trump message but also a message that we are building an alliance between students and workers and creating a movement of the 99%.”

 

Andinda Fenner, a freshman at Temple University said she has been looking forward to protesting all week. “I didn’t care rain or shine I was gonna be here,” she said as she huddled to stay warm and dry. Fenner sees the protest as a way of “getting information out to people,” but also pointed out that “we’re doing a lot but we have to do more than protest.”

 

Devon, a Drexel student who came with a small group of fellow Drexel students, was “underwhelmed by the actions at his own university” so came to Temple to participate in the walkout. He expressed a desire for “better coordination between different protests and meetings” and worries that the movement will fizzle if groups don’t start communicating better with one another. Echoing Dobkins, Devon cautioned people to not only to focus on Trump, but also the “years of unjust policies” in Pennsylvania and nationwide. In terms of where the movement should go next, Devon would like to see “all motivated people and groups joined up.”

 

“You really catch a lot of power from the people” was the sentiment that Dobson shared as he looked out into the small but motivated crowd he helped to garner. With a sense of collective power circulating, students took the courageous first step of walking together through their own campus community and into the streets of Center City Philadelphia, where each additional step down Broad Street brought them closer to a larger movement of people fighting for a more just future. The march ended when students converged with other protesters at Independence Mall, and took a “People’s Oath” to defend one another and work toward justice.

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