UCLA profs invite students to join weekly anti-Trump protest

A group of professors at the University of California, Los Angeles recently invited students to join them in a weekly protest against the Trump administration.

In an open letter in The Daily Bruin—unambiguously titled “Weekly protests resist normalization of Trump administration”—a cadre of 22 faculty members invites UCLA students to join their weekly protest, held every Monday afternoon in front of Bunche Hall—one of the few campus buildings named after an African American.

“We gather there to bear witness to the Orwellian nightmare that is the presidency of Donald Trump, and to let the world know that we cannot let this become normal,” history professor Teofilo Ruiz begins the letter. “We demonstrate because we fear that the mendacious statements, outrageous policies, and sheer administrative incompetence of the Trump administration will eventually exhaust the majority of the people in this country, causing them to accept as normal what should never be the nature of our civic and political life under any circumstance.”

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Ruiz, who was once honored with a National Humanities Medal by former president Barack Obama, goes on to decry the supposed tragedies that he expects to result from Trump’s presidency, predicting “the destruction of our environment and our liberties” before hysterically warning of a “return to a world without health care.”

Asserting that we have entered “a new and menacing world of ‘alternative facts,’ dishonesty, fearmongering, racism, misogyny, and incompetence,” he attempts to draw parallels to George Orwell’s classic dystopia, 1984, saying it has become necessary to “assert that two plus two is not five, that ‘ignorance is not knowledge,’ that ‘freedom is not slavery,’ that ‘peace is not war’—regardless of what the Trump administration would like for you to believe.”

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Ruiz then addresses the subject of illegal immigration, deriding those who support the enforcement of existing laws as being driven by fear.

“We need to proclaim that no human is ever ‘illegal’ and that we are best when we accept the differences of others and embrace them as contributors to our society,” he argued. “Differences are not to be feared. We celebrate differences of opinions, race, ethnicity and national origins. Students, above all people, should know and support these points of view.”

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The letter concludes by encouraging students to join the weekly anti-Trump protest, held every Monday from 11:50 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., urging attendees to “bring signs to articulate your opposition and your engagement,” but clarifying that all are welcome to participate “even if you don’t have words printed on paper or cardboard.”

Professor Ruiz did not respond to requests for comment, nor did any of the 21 other professors who signed their names to the open letter. UCLA Media did not respond to a request for comment, either.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen