“Executive Disorder: Trump immigration and travel ban causes a week of turmoil in Yolo County”

Note: I worked for a week on this project after President Donald Trump instituted the travel ban. My team and I found narratives to tell each day of the week following the executive order. We integrated photo, audio and graphics to explain how Trump’s actions affected community members.  Access the special report through the hyperlink.

(Published on BlueDevilHUB.com on Feb. 5, 2017)

“Students gather for Muslim Day at California state capitol”

Note: After attending Muslim Day, I met my same day deadline; that article is here. I then worked together with my editor to transform the story into parallax mode, which enables text over photos and auto play videos. Below are all the elements. To see parallax mode in action, click on the hyperlink.

(Published on GlobalStudentSquare.org on May 10, 2016)

By Meghan Bobrowsky, GSS correspondent

SACRAMENTO — More than 600 students, activists and politicians gathered at the California state Capitol Building in Sacramento on April 25 to talk about a worrisome increase in Islamophobia and lobby for legislation supporting Muslims nationwide. The 5th annual Muslim Day at the Capitol, sponsored by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, drew elementary through high school students from all over California.

One focus of discussion was the Safe Place to Learn Act (AB 2845) which would amend existing anti-bullying protections outlined in the California Education Code to promote strategies and programs to address bullying of students who are Muslim or those who are perceived as Muslims, for example, Sikhs, or students who are from the Middle East.

The bill was triggered by a 2015 report by CAIR that found 55 percent of California Muslim students have been bullied in school. The figure is more than twice as high as the national average, according to CAIR.  

That report and the Safe Place to Learn Act are more than just paper to 14-year-old Aya Hazzawi, a student from Rancho Cucamonga.

While Hazzawi said that she has not been personally victimized because of her Islamic beliefs, she knows of a friend who was bullied for wearing her hijab to school:

Other bills that are being supported by CAIR and were discussed at Muslim Day included the Truth Act (AB 2792), which would require local law enforcement to decide in advance with city council or county supervisors how to report the arrest of an undocumented person to federal Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) authorities, and the Police Investigation, Transparency and Accountability Act (SB 1286), which would require public access to police records on use of force and misconduct, and force civilian review boards that oversee police to hold public hearings.

After registration and keynote speakers on the steps of the Capitol, participants were directed into the Capitol building where they attended workshops and legislative briefings. Lunch was marked by a dhurh (noon prayer) on the Capitol lawn.

Room 447 was packed for the legislative briefing on “Islamophobia: Impacts on California,” put on by the Asian Americans Advancing Justice, the Sikh Coalition and CAIR, where 27-year-old Amandeep Singh shared his experience of being bullied and suspended during high school:

Muslim Day this year came amid a backdrop of heated rhetoric in the GOP and Democratic presidential primaries, including a call by Republican contender Donald Trump for a ban on travel by the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims to the United States.

“Education is one of the biggest things,” said Hazzawi, who is a member of Muslim Gamechangers Network, a four-month-old CAIR initiative to promote social justice among teens.

“To avoid all of this (you need) knowledge,” Hazzawi said. “Knowledge is power.”

“From Honduras to Yolo County to freedom: the journey of a 14-year-old boy”

Note:  I worked with two other reporters on this timely story to publish the package a few hours after the rally took place. I wrote the article, interviewing an attorney, two activists and a public information officer, while the other two reporters traveled to the scene to capture the event through video.

(Published on BlueDevilHUB.com on March 14, 2017)

GE march

By Meghan Bobrowsky, Annabelle Zhou and Diana Lee,
BlueDevilHUB.com Staff–

Fourteen-year-old G.E.* fled Honduras to escape an abusive family situation, traveling over 1,400 miles from his native country to reach Texas. Upon entering the U.S., however, he was jailed.

Although G.E. was granted asylum on Jan. 10 of this year, he remained locked up in the Yolo County Juvenile Detention Center for an additional two months. Yesterday, he was released to a foster home.

Since G.E. entered the country about a year ago, Yolo County has been cooperating with the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement to “provide care in a secure facility for unaccompanied minor children,” according to Yolo County Public Information Officer Beth Gabor.

Gabor could not comment on the specific case, but explained that “federal law requires ORR to continue to detain a child even after he or she is granted asylum until a suitable custodian can be located.”

Sara Ehsani-Nia, a member of the UC Davis Immigration Law Clinic, understood the law. But she did not see any reason to continue holding G.E. after Jan. 10. So she started working on a writ of habeas corpus with another member of the UC Davis ILC, Eduardo Osorio, in early February.

“There was no legal reason [to keep G.E.] inside of the immigration jail. They terminated his deportation hearings and gave him status,” Ehsani-Nia said.

She was trying to give G.E. what he wanted—freedom. He had been moved around several detention centers across the nation. Ehsani-Nia added that it is not uncommon for kids in asylum limbo to be moved around frequently.

However, there is a lack of services and centers available for kids like G.E.. As a result, they are placed in detention centers with other youth who have committed crimes.

“[They’re] being treated like prisoners. Why does he have to be inside such a terrible setting? I understand if you want to keep a close tab on them, but this seems cruel,” Ehsani-Nia said.

Seth Sanders, a religious studies professor at UC Davis and member of Indivisible Yolo, agreed with Ehsani-Nia. He worked with fellow Indivisible Yolo member Emily Hill to put together a rally advocating for G.E.’s release.

Indivisible Yolo’s action team, led by Sanders, coordinated with G.E.’s legal team, found speakers and publicized the event, according to Hill.

Their plan worked better than anticipated: G.E.’s was released from the Yolo County Juvenile Detention Center a day before the planned rally. Sanders said the group would forge ahead with the rally anyways “to let him know we’re still thinking about him.”

“We rally to celebrate G.E.’s freedom and welcome him to Yolo, but equally to remember: he is not the only one. To everyone else arbitrarily detained – we have not forgotten you,” Hill said.

Sanders cited Congressman John Garamendi as instrumental to the process as well as the ability of Indivisible Yolo to effectively organize.

“If you show up and organize, you can get things done. It’s interesting how these things work. Kids’ stories are powerful, and young people can learn from this stuff,” Sanders said.

Hill, however, is not convinced the problem is solved. She worries that there are several more children like G.E. being locked up for seeking “freedom and safety.” Indivisible Yolo does not know the specifics of these children’s cases.

“We are very concerned that other youths are being detained much longer than is just,” Hill said.

Hill says that the group will keep fighting for the rights of children who are detained and not permitted a paid attorney.

“We are a better, stronger, kinder nation when we are united, and when we recognize the contributions of everyone in our communities,” Hill said. “We will not let Trump turn us against each other. We will stand indivisible.”

*Name is being withheld because G.E. is a minor.

“Students respond to hate crime directed at Islamic Center of Davis”

Note: Following a hate crime on a local mosque, the community banded together in solidarity. At 11 a.m. Thursday, our newspaper got wind of a rally the next afternoon. Another reporter and I quickly contacted students and other mosque members to write a story, spreading the word about the response to the hateful actions.

(Published on BlueDevilHUB.com on Jan. 27, 2017)

The security camera captured the crime on video. (Courtesy: Davis PD)

By Meghan Bobrowsky and Denna Changizi,
BlueDevilHUB.com Staff–

DHS alumna Bismah Siddiqi goes to the Islamic Center of Davis one to three times a week, and has been attending prayers at mosques for as long as she can remember.

When Siddiqi heard about last Sunday’s vandalism attack on the Davis mosque through Facebook, she was sad but not surprised. “I think the social climate in America right now is validating the abuse of marginalized groups,” Siddiqi said.

Siddiqi still plans to attend the mosque as much as she can, claiming that someone else’s ignorance is not enough to scare her off from her peaceful place.

“I know to be careful when I go, but the mosque has always been a place where I feel secure and this incident doesn’t change that,” Siddiqi said. That being said, Siddiqi thinks “that what happened was terrible and disgusting.”

Community members learned of the hate crime on Sunday morning upon arrival at the mosque and watched video surveillance in hopes of finding the suspect.

“[The video] shows someone who appears to be female smashing multiple windows with what appears to be an ice pick and placing slices of bacon on the door handles. She was also seen slashing bike tires that were parked outside of the Masjid,” according to the Islamic Center’s website.

“In my opinion, when incidents like this occur, the response to it is more indicative of what the community stands for. People have been showing their support for the mosque through donations, flowers, letters, and coming in person and telling us that they care,” she said.

Siddiqi believes the person who committed the act of hate probably wanted to make Muslims in Davis feel scared and unwelcome, but the exact opposite happened.

In response to Saturday night’s hate crime on the Islamic Center of Davis, ‘08 DHS alumna Kate Mellon-Anibaba worked with “Statement of Love,” a community group that organizes demonstrations of support, to put together a gathering at Central Park today at 1:30 p.m. to protest the incident. She expects more than 1,000 people to attend.

The group will march to the mosque located near the intersection of Anderson Road and Russell Boulevard to “make a stand against Islamophobia and support our Muslim sisters, brothers and children,” according to Statement of Love’s Facebook page. Participants can hold signs outside the Islamic Center during Jumuah prayer, which begins at 1:15 p.m..

“I’m sad as a supporter that this happened in our community, but this is a wake up call for action. There have been undertones that we’ve ignored and this [hate crime] brought them to life,” Mellon-Anibaba said. “We can take this hate and turn it into something positive that will bring the community together.”

Following the hate crime, community members looked to Launch Good, a global crowdfunding platform to support Muslims, for help raising funds to repair the damage. As of Wednesday, $22,212 has been gathered from the community, exceeding the original goal of $9,000. Donations can be made online at launchgood.com or in person at today’s event.

Mellon-Anibaba said the money will go towards more surveillance, security systems and the Sunday school for young children.

Junior Zainab Alzubidi is not a regular attender of the Davis Islamic Center, but as a Muslim, she is extremely concerned about the events that took place.

“I feel unsafe because this was a crime fueled by hate and ignorance. This person clearly does not know that all Muslims are not terrorists and that puts everyone who is remotely related to Islam in danger, despite following American values and having done nothing wrong,” Alzubidi said.

Similarly, senior Zainub Balla also believes this hate crime was an act of ignorance. “I think it’s so disturbing and disrespectful. [The woman behind the attack was] not even bothering to learn about the religion,” Balla said.

Balla, who attends the mosque whenever she finds the time, shared that the president of the mosque informed the members not to be hateful to the woman responsible for the crime. Instead, the president believes that the woman should be educated on the topic to resolve her hate for a religion she may not know much about.

While Balla is not fearful like Alzubidi, she holds more anger. “I think she’s trying to get caught and trying to spread the message that ‘hey we don’t like you anymore,’” Balla said.

Balla has been attending the Davis Islamic Center since childhood, when she would go to Sunday school to learn Arabic and Islamic history and study the Quran. During the school year, Balla tries to make as much time for the mosque as she can, but typically spends more time at the center during Ramadan, when Taraweeh, long prayers, take place every night.

As a longtime member, Balla has witnessed multiple acts of hate towards the mosque including a robbery, and, more recently, a hate letter that was sent to the Davis Islamic Center as well as several other mosques.

The mosque and her culture has grown to be a big part of her life. As a result, Balla is more than willing to face the hatred and to continue attending prayers. “I’d rather address the problem than run away from it,” Balla said.

Alzubidi agrees with Balla and thinks the community needs to work together to face the growing problem of Islamophobia.

“We must stand together and stay strong,” Alzubidi said.

“DHS grad arrested in link to recent hate crime”

Note: The suspect was arrested three weeks later, and I jumped in on the story with another editor.  I contacted Kate Mellon-Anibaba, who I interviewed for the first hate crime story, and she directed me to her husband Sule Anibaba who attended school with the suspect. The Davis Enterprise quoted our story.

(Published on BlueDevilHUB.com on Feb. 15, 2017)

       Kirk-Coehlo graduated from Davis High in 2004.

Last updated on Feb. 16 at 9:27 p.m.

By Meseret Carver and Meghan Bobrowsky,
BlueDevilHUB.com Editors–

Davis High alumna Lauren Kirk-Coehlo was arrested on Feb. 14 for “hate motivated vandalism” against the Islamic Center of Davis, but showed no signs of such behavior during her time at Davis High and for years after graduation, according to classmates.

In an arraignment on Feb. 16 Kirk-Coehlo pleaded “not guilty” to the felony charges.

Officer Daniel La Fond originally requested a $40,000 bail, but has now asked for a $1 million bond for Kirk-Coehlo in a bail document submitted to the court. The request was granted.

The officer’s declaration of arrest includes reports of several private messages and social media posts by Kirk-Coehlo that may have indicated her motives. Police say several of her posts glorified Dylann Roof, who was convicted of killing nine African-Americans after a Bible study in a church in Charleston, North Carolina in 2015.

According to La Fond, she also sent private messages saying she had “dreams and aspirations” to kill “many people” three separate times.

The document also stated that Kirk-Coelho used derogatory terms including the N-word.  According to the arresting officer, Kirk-Coelho “converses via text with her mother about her ‘mental problems.’” Kirk-Coehlo is allegedly the woman caught on tape on Jan. 22, smashing in the windows of the Davis Islamic Center and wrapping the door handles with pork.

According to the bail statement, Kirk-Coehlo also conducted several online searches about Alexandre Bissonnette, who killed six people and injured nine people at a mosque in Quebec, Canada on Jan. 31. Jacob Berman, who graduated with Kirk-Coehlo in 2004, said he last saw her about three years ago.

According to Berman, Kirk-Coehlo was a “pretty unremarkable Davis liberal,” and he had seen no anomalous behavior to note otherwise.

Kirk-Coehlo (top row, second from right) was president of the DHS Environmental Club.

“When I knew her, I never noticed anything more eccentric than a weakness for marijuana and loud colored hair dye,” said Berman, now a lawyer living in New York City. According to Berman, Kirk-Coehlo has not been very active on social media since he has last seen her.

She took her Facebook page down and rarely uses her Twitter account. Berman was “disturbed” when he found out about her arrest.

“You never know what is in someone’s head, I guess. I never knew I was friends with a white supremacist,” Berman said.

According to the 2004 DHS yearbook, Kirk-Coehlo was co-president of the Environmental Club while at DHS.

“The Environmental Club is worth joining because preserving the environment is very satisfying, the club is continually reaching out and taking new projects,” Kirk-Coehlo told the yearbook.

Sherri Sandberg, a science teacher at Davis High, was the adviser for the club while Kirk-Coehlo was in it. Sandberg describes Kirk-Coehlo as “a very happy bubbly person” who, along with her co-president, gathered food scraps from the kitchen that prepared meals for the entire district and composted them.

“She was very welcoming to all kinds of people,” Sandberg said. 

Sule Anibaba also graduated from DHS in 2004 and while he did not have any personal interactions with her, he recognized her face. Anibaba attends the Davis Islamic Center regularly and was saddened when he learned who the suspect was.

“Seeing how far this young lady was willing to go — the hate — I am not surprised. I’m sure that she had hate in her,” Anibaba said.

Anibaba started the Muslim Student Union during his time at DHS, motivated by false assumptions that are still present today.

“We first started it after 9/11. There was so much tension and threats made towards Muslims. I remember discussing some of those,” Anibaba said.

He described Davis as “sheltered” and thinks Davis “could do much better making their young ones aware about differences.” Kirk-Coehlo graduated from UC Berkeley in May 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in English, according to University Media Relations Officer Yasmin Anwar.

“San Francisco celebrates gay pride amid tightened security”

Note: For this story, I traveled to San Francisco, most notably known for its acceptance of the LGBT community. I interviewed attendees of all ages, crafted a photo gallery and hyperlinked to a previous attack on a gay night club and a report of intended violence on another pride festival.

(Published on GlobalStudentSquare.org on June 26, 2016)

By Meghan Bobrowsky
GSS correspondent

SAN FRANCISCO — The 46th annual San Francisco Pride for Racial and Economic Justice took over City Hall, the Asian Art Museum and UN Plaza on June 25, the start of the annual Gay Pride weekend celebrating the city’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. The group also hoped to “educate the world, commemorate our heritage, celebrate our culture, and liberate our people,” according to SF Pride’s official website.

Emcees Sister Roma and Honey Mahogany kicked off the festival on Saturday with featured performances by Cheer SF, Spice Queers and JES on three different stages in San Francisco.

Malala Ross, who volunteered as a security guard, said the June 25 event went off without a hitch.

“I (saw) a lot of great people, a lot of great stuff happening, a lot of great music and everybody (seemed) happy,” Ross said.

Santa Cruz resident Josie Mattos, who attended with her girlfriend of three years, agreed.

“I think it’s great, I mean not great that (the Orlando shooting) happened but people aren’t staying home,” said Mattos, 68. “We’re not letting fear keep us from being who we really are,” the Santa Cruz denizen said.

Mattos described the festival as a safe haven for people of all ages.

“When I came out of the closet, it was not easy for us — for me. It’s easier for the younger people. They have it in the schools, the rainbow club and everything,” she said.

These words resonated with 18-year-old Matt Nelson, who learned early on that sexuality doesn’t determine a person’s value.

“It doesn’t matter what your skin color is, what race you are, what language you speak,” said Nelson, of Walnut Creek. “We’re all one and it’s love.”

Pride events will continue today. For more information about San Francisco Pride and how to donate to the LGBT celebration committee, go to sfpride.org.

“California high school students organize walkout, march downtown”

Note: After documenting the student protest on Facebook Live, I interviewed the leader of the event and another passionate student about their reasoning behind encouraging students to leave class. The protest was also on KCRA 3 reporter Tom Miller’s Facebook Live and was later picked up by Buzzfeed.

(Published on GlobalStudentSquare.org on Nov. 11, 2016)

By Meghan Bobrowsky
GSS correspondent

DAVIS, Calif. — Classrooms emptied at 11:55 a.m on Thursday, Nov. 10, as students at Davis Senior High School filed into the quad to protest Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential election. Around 175 of the 1708 students,  joined by some faculty members, held up signs and chanted phrases: “Love trumps hate,” “Not my president” and “My body, my choice.”

After the final school bell rang, the group marched to a park downtown, escorted by the Davis Police Department, which kept the streets clear and did not interfere with the event. Once downtown, students took turns sharing their opinions through a microphone and chanted in unison after every speaker.

Senior Emma Thomsen organized the event, starting with a Twitter poll on Wednesday evening in an attempt to unite the school. After 66 percent of the 310 voters said they would participate in a walkout against Trump, she decided it was the right thing to do. Thomsen met with one of the vice principals earlier this morning to discuss safety and then instructed students to leave class as quietly as possible.

“I wanted to show that young people are not going to sit silently and let hateful rhetoric dominate this country,” Thomsen said. “We will be just as affected by Trump’s policies the next four years as anyone else.”

Administration cleared the walkout, saying that there would be no consequences for students who participated peacefully. Davis Joint Unified School District Superintendent John Bowes justified the students’ decision to march.

“We recognize and respect a student’s rights to freedom of assembly and freedom of speech, and appreciate the respectful way the student organizers contacted administrators in advance of today’s peaceful demonstration,” Bowes said, according to a video published on iSeeDavis.com.

Once at the park, senior Fox Conner, 17,  stood on a bench to address the crowd.

“I’m gay [and] I’m here to show solidarity to my brothers and sisters,” he yelled. “We’re not coming here to be aggressive or violent towards anything. We’re here to come together as a community.”

Conner explained that the protest was not intended to fuel hatred toward Trump but instead to reassure fellow protesters that Americans will get through the next four years together.

“Express your culture. Express your identity. Express your sexuality,” Conner said. “Express your religion, because in the end, the thing that is going to help us get through this is us supporting one another and being ourselves more than we have before and being proud to just not be a part of that culture of hatred.”

Other speakers included a student with autism, a second-generation Mexican American and a student who had been sexually assaulted. All the speeches echoed the same message–love over hate.

“‘Every 15 minutes’ stages drunk driving accident to raise awareness” 

Note: Although the car crash was staged, it was critical to post this article promptly to clear up confusion. With another reporter, I interviewed a police officer, firefighter, student in the accident and teacher who coordinated the event. The crash happened during third period; the article was published three periods later.

(Published on BlueDevilHUB.com on April 5, 2016)

The stunt included fake blood and real procedures.
Junior Abbey Fisk “died” in a car crash during the simulation, designed to raise awareness of the danger of driving under the influence. (Photo: K. Sturm)

By Meghan Bobrowsky and Denna Changizi,
BlueDevilHUB.com Staff–

Davis High staff directed students to Oak Avenue before third period Tuesday, April 5, where a fatal car crash awaited them.

What students saw was the aftermath of a head-on collision between two sedans, surrounded by police and fire trucks. After removing two bloody bodies from one of the cars, a helicopter landed onto the soccer field to transport the students to the hospital.

As realistic as the scene looked, it was all a simulation designed to educate students about the dangers of driving under the influence.

Davis police officer John Wilson, often stationed on school campuses, says the program is named “Every 15 Minutes” because “when it was created, nationally someone died in the United States by a drunk driver every 15 minutes.”

“Every 15 Minutes” was first simulated at DHS in 1997, encouraged by a concerned community that was losing about one DHS student per year due to drunk driving.

“We’ve only lost one since ‘97 since we started doing this, so that’s why we keep doing it again,” Wilson said.

To make it as realistic as possible, firefighters, EMTs and police officers are told to treat the simulation as a real situation and follow their usual procedure.

Richard Moore, the captain at Fire Station 31 in Downtown Davis, said he was informed about the incident this morning.

“We’re hoping to bring an awareness to the students that you have to really think twice about what you do, especially drinking,” Moore said. “This is what we do; we didn’t have to practice or anything like that because this is what we normally do. We train on this all the time.”

This year, junior Abbey Fisk and senior Anna Belenis were selected to be the victims. Senior Connor Amesbury was chosen as the drunk driver.

All three students are currently unable to contact their peers; they are pretending to be in jail or dead. However, while leaving the crime scene, Amesbury–who expressed remorse for killing Belenis, his friend since preschool–was able to share a little about the process.

Earlier this month, Amesbury was called to a meeting during class and learned about “Every 15 Minutes.” Several weeks ago, he was informed that he had been chosen to be the drunk driver.

“I didn’t know what I was supposed to do going into it, so I had to wing it,” Amesbury said.

Student Government adviser and Activities Director Anthony Vasquez has been working on the simulation since the beginning of the school year. He, Wilson and previous DHS Activities Director Eric Morgan held meetings in the library to discuss what needed to be done and by whom.

“All of those volunteers [are] basically giving their time to be there because they don’t want to go to another real [accident]; they’re sick of going to an actual crash site. Maybe this will cut down on that,” Vasquez said.

Many students observing from the crowd were aware that the scene was planned or quickly figured it out, and spread the word among their friends. Though this may have made the scene less real for some, Vasquez believes that the simulation was still very successful.

“I observed many extremes of students thinking it was real and needing to be told that it wasn’t because they were worried,” he said. “And then I know students who were also in [the crowd] that instantly posted something inappropriate.”

Vasquez said the students who were chuckling and taking the situation lightly will not be laughing for long.

“I think over the next few days, it’ll sink in as they see their classmates taken out, as they see that they can’t text them later, as they see speakers at tomorrow’s assembly that have lost sons and daughters that can speak from firsthand experience,” Vasquez said. “There were laughs this morning but there won’t be a single one tomorrow.”

Vasquez is referring to the second part of the simulation, described to DHS parents in an email from Principal William Brown.

“Students will be periodically pulled from class and will not return until the following day to illustrate the human loss to a community that results from such a collision,” Brown said in the email.

Brown also informed parents about the program’s message.

“The simulation actively engages students with the realities of alcohol-related driving and requires them to use their critical thinking to evaluate the unannounced scene in front of them, so that they will make healthy decisions about the use or presence of alcohol,” he said.

“ELECTION: UC students protest, speak out against Trump”

Note: After President Donald Trump became the presumptive presidential nominee, one of the co-editor-in-chiefs and I started contacting Davis High alumni at Universities of California. They all described similar student protests and reports of vandalism near campus, so we compiled their stories into an article that was published hours later.

(Published on BlueDevilHUB.com on Nov. 9, 2016)

Students at UC Berkeley attend the silent sit-in on the steps of Sproul Hall. (Courtesy: V. Kirsch)
Students at UC Berkeley attend the silent sit-in on the steps of Sproul Hall. (Courtesy: V. Kirsch)

By Willa Moffatt and Meghan Bobrowsky,
BlueDevilHUB.com Editors-in-Chief–

Republican nominee Donald Trump’s unexpected victory in the presidential election last night left many millennials across California feeling hopeless and scared. As a result, they have decided to protest.

Students at UCLA, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Berkeley, UC San Diego and UC Santa Barbara wrapped themselves in blankets and hurried out to the streets to make a statement about their political beliefs. Classes continued as scheduled today, but that did not stop DHS alumna and current UCSB freshman Bia Kinder from listening to student speakers during breaks.

Former DHS student and current Cal freshman Brendan Deas witnessed the beginnings of his campus’ protests on election night when students became disgruntled at the results being played on a Jumbotron near the main entrance of campus at Sproul plaza.

Deas reported that when the school took the screen down– they had only rented it for a limited period of time– the students watching began to shout. It escalated to a “massive group” marching down Telegraph Avenue and onto the highway, according to Deas.

This morning Berkeley saw multiple protests, including the Berkeley High School walkout being joined by students at the university, and one focused on undocumented immigrants. This evening, Deas joined a mass of protesters marching past his dorm.

“I think a lot of people are showing solidarity for people [who will be most] affected by [Trump] […] No real change will happen but it makes a statement,” Deas said.

There have also been instances of vandalism of buildings that have been spray painted with anti-Trump slogans, including a Walgreens on campus. A trending hashtag on social media has also cropped up in the past 24 hours: #NotMyPresident. This phrase was also one of several rallying cries that the protesters chanted as they marched.

As for the life of the protests, Deas believes that Berkeley students will be poised to react at any moment going forward.

“I think [the protests] will die down until he does anything, there will definitely be some when he’s inaugurated, at any [offensive statements] in his speech, people will protest,” Deas said.

And here in Davis, protests started late yesterday evening after Trump began his victory speech. Students gathered at the Tercero dorms off of La Rue Road and made their way past the Unitrans parking lot to Trader Joe’s near Russell Blvd, according to DHS alumni and UCD freshman Daniel Johnson. Johnson marched with other distraught students until 1:35 a.m. because Trump’s win “pushed me over an edge of depression and anger where I needed to be heard,” Johnson said.

“Now is a time for those of us who understand acceptance to come together. It is a time for white people, especially white men, to help however they can,” Johnson said. “It is a time for us to love each other […] to protect each other and keep each other safe from the hate crimes and violence that are sure to occur in the future.”

He urges other students to voice their opinions.

“If you believe in something, say it. Stand up and shout it. Get on top of the world and scream it.”

“Students experience mixed emotions at inauguration”

Note: After our previous success as a team, Willa and I decided to call several Davis High students while they trekked to their buses after witnessing President Donald Trump sworn into office. Their experiences were published and spread on social media by noon.

(Published on BlueDevilHUB.com on Jan. 20, 2017)

Students visited the White House on Wednesday before attending the inauguration this morning. (Photo: B. Lee)

By Willa Moffatt and Meghan Bobrowsky,
BlueDevilHUB.com Editors-in-Chief–

Thousands of people attended President Donald J. Trump’s inauguration this morning including 45 Blue Devils, one Davis High teacher and one DHS counselor. The group arrived in Maryland on Wednesday morning and spent two days sightseeing before attending today’s event.

After everyone arrived, Trump began his brief, 15-minute speech by stating what the beginning of the presidency means to him.

“Today’s ceremony, however, has a very special meaning because today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another or from one party to another, but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the people.”

Senior Moira Williams, who attended the event along with other DHS students, said his speech invigorated her, but not in the way he intended. She said his speech emphasized “America First,” but with so much going on worldwide, American needs to focus on all issues, not just at home.

Williams, who was wearing a pink “Pussy Hat” made by senior Camille Renaud’s mother, was interviewed by ABC along with some of her classmates.

Williams reported that the majority of people were Trump supporters, with “almost everyone in red Trump hats.”

“During speeches, we were standing in front of some young Trumpers,” Williams said. “They were actually pretty nice. They were like, ‘Hey, let’s be nice to Obama, he did a lot of good stuff.”

Though Williams herself is not a Trump supporter, she appreciates the value of the experience.

“I definitely cried, not going to lie. Just seeing Michelle Obama up there. But it was a really fun experience overall, and people watching [was interesting],” she said.

Another senior who went on the trip, Nikki Adkins, was surprised at the different political climate, noting the many Trump supporters flaunting trump stickers, hats and shirts.

“It’s so much different than Davis. It’s actually real. They’re all white. There’s an overwhelming amount of support for Trump.”

And while she saw many peaceful protesters, she witnessed one violent interaction between inauguration attendees.

“There was a lady who came with an anti Trump poster, and people started yelling at her to put it down. Then some guy pushed her down, and they started screaming at each other. The police came and took her away.”

Adkins does not support Trump or former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, but thinks it is important to keep an open mind.

Senior Karlie Kijanka enjoyed the inauguration and said “being a part of the most peaceful and powerful exchange of leadership in the world is an experience everyone should witness.”