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Twitter: @SteveAhlquist

Steve Ahlquist is an award-winning journalist, writer, artist and founding member of the Humanists of Rhode Island, a non-profit group dedicated to reason, compassion, optimism, courage and action. The views expressed are his own and not necessarily those of any organization of which he is a member.

His photos and video are usable under the Creative Commons license. Free to share with credit.

"We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” - Elie Weisel

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor." - Desmond Tutu

"There comes a time when neutrality and laying low become dishonorable. If you’re not in revolt, you’re in cahoots. When this period and your name are mentioned, decades hence, your grandkids will look away in shame." - David Brooks

6 responses to “Massive student walkout to protest Trump inauguration in Providence”

  1. Johnnie

    “It was by far one of the most moving and beautiful protests I have ever been to. The young people blew me away with their dignity, intelligence and confidence.”

    The youth are never given nearly enough credit. Does anyone honestly think they needed adult supervision today to organize themselves, make signs, or walk out and march to the State House? How did it not turn into a free-for-all without school resource officers there to keep them from killing each other off?

    These youth now need to demand a say in how students are disciplined, the way their curriculum and testing is shaped, and the overall way their schools are structured. They need to be invested participants in their schools and education, not passive bystanders taking orders from a governor, a Dept. of Education and administrators who demonstrate nothing but well-disguised fear and contempt for them.

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  2. Johnnie

    ‘Student leader Jayleen Salcedo encouraged students to support a new students’ bill of rights, which calls for major investments in school buildings and the removal of police in their schools.’
    ‘Organizing is preparing every day for a movement,” she said. “Organizing is practicing moments when you can transform society.’ ProJo online.

    This quote was edited out of the print edition in The Providence Journal today. I wonder why.

    To the authorities, engaged students are to be feared and not encouraged. And what is even more frightening to them is this could be become contagious and spread. They understand demonstrations like this can make students much harder to control. These students might actually begin to think they can and should have a voice in their education, and the structure of their schools. This is not part of the lesson plan, kids, and there is only so much time to get through the material.

    And don’t think for one minute it was accidental that the public address system at the rally failed. The political police have been damaging the PA systems of activists for as long as I can remember.

    Many of these youths are from schools that are “failing.” Many of them haven’t quite learned how to walk in nice straight lines, or do what they’re told when they’re told.
    Many of these youth are from schools that are not “proficient.” Why is it they are engaged and in the streets and their “proficient” suburban counterparts are not?

    John Arnold’s money has bought a Governor, a “think tank” at Brown, a Superintendent of Schools and a Board of Education. These young people could derail his well-laid plans.

    I am so proud of these kids.

    If you want to hear some of the voices of those in authority amplified, go to the comment section in The Journal today on the walkout of these youth.
    http://www.providencejournal.com/news/20170120/students-protesting-trump-march-to-rhode-island-state-house

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  3. Deforest

    The important lesson is this:

    So… students organize and make demands for any number of things. Today it’s
    – a say in how students are disciplined
    – improvements to the curriculum
    – the overall way their education is structured
    – proper investment in crumbling facilities

    But this is not the first time students or parents have organized and made demands for needed improvements and the need to have student and parent voices heard. Nor will it be the last. What school administrations count on, what history has taught them, is that these organizing efforts come and then go. The past has taught school administrators that nearly all of the time these organizing efforts dwindle and fade on their own without any action needed to be taken by the schools. There is a moment. Then it passes. Spring vacation comes, final exams come, life happens and people move on. School administrators know that if they do nothing, or provide empty lip service, the most likely outcome is the moment passes and nothing needs to change.

    The Lesson: It is the responsibility of the organizers and all the engaged students is to make sure that THIS time, that doesn’t happen. And, when they graduate it is their responsibility to make sure the baton is passed to the next class.

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  4. Resist Hate RI celebrates successes, plans for the future

    […] of students walked out of High School on inauguration […]

  5. Youth-led social justice activism in Rhode Island

    […] in my freshman year of high school,” said Tarley. “And another campaign was the Providence student walk-out. And a campaign that we’re currently working on is the ethnic studies campaign. And our current […]

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