On Monday at 1 pm teachers and students from Harvest Collegiate High School in Manhattan marched to Union Square and held a small rally to speak out against Donald Trump, his policies and the hatred he represents.
According to Science teacher Ashraya Gupta, the United Federation of Teachers planned a day of action on Monday and the school responded to this call. She said, “We serve the exact communities Trump is targeting so we need to make schools a space that is safe in any way it can be. That means pushing for NYC public schools to be sanctuary spaces for immigrants. In our classrooms, it is about making kids feel loved and valued, which is what it has always been about. But it is that much more urgent now.”
Social Studies teacher Daniel Marshall said, “I understand teaching as not just delivering knowledge in some canned form to students. I understand it as bonds of community. We aren’t caretakers because our students are independent in many ways, but in some grand sense, we are their protectors, so that means caring for them outside of the classroom too. Our commitment cannot end when we all go home. We have to be involved politically outside of our classrooms. We don’t accept misogny, racism and xenophobia and we will do what is necessary to defend our students against it.”
The elections and the wave of hate crimes following have shaken the country. Over 400 have been reported since the elections. Teachers have had to negotiate student fears and the hateful violence unleashed after Trump’s election. Left Voice has been documenting how educators are addressing the wave of fear and hatred in their classrooms. Teachers report that their students are terrified of being deported, so much so that one broke out in hives and others spend the day with the guidance counselor due to depression. Students of color are experiencing increased harassment outside of school and bring the weight of that to school with them every day.
One student said, “I am against deportation. That is why we need to take action. My parents are undocumented immigrants and deporting them will not just send them away, it will create chaos in my family. I have little sisters, so taking my parents away from them will cause a big problem. It’s not just for me. It’s for everyone who is an undocumented immigrant.”