Hundreds of high school students walked out of their D.C.-area schools Tuesday afternoon to protest the election of President-elect Donald Trump.
Their protest began at the Trump International Hotel in Washington on Pennsylvania Avenue, before heading to Capitol Hill and the Supreme Court steps.
The students chanted several slogans, among them “Love Trumps Hate” and “Students united, We will not be divided.”
“D.C. has been a city in mourning since Nov. 8,” said Ben Dormus, one of the students leading the protest. “There was a lot of unspoken tension.”
While speaking to the crowd, Dormus criticized Trump and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan. They were “not willing to stand for progress,” he said.
Taliah Smith, 18, said many of teachers were upset by the election results and supported the students’ walkout.
“They walked us down the hall,” Smith said. She said if her teachers hadn’t been supportive, her mother would have pulled her out of school to allow her to walkout.
Brenda Valencia, a 19-year-old undocumented student, wore a sign that said “Undocumented, Unapologetic and Unafraid.”
“I feel like I am trying to represent some undocumented students to show they are not afraid,” Valencia said. “We have a lot to fight for.”
Many of the kids learned about the walkout on social media. It was promoted on Twitter with the hashtag #DCPSWalkout.
A flyer that was handed out urged students to remain peaceful and prohibited any obscene chants or curse words.
One sign carried by the students opposed the appointment of Breitbart executive Stephen Bannon as chief strategist to Trump. One sign was written in Arabic, with an explanation underneath: “Chill out. It just means “Build Bridges, Not Walls.”
Anna and Sebastien, both 15-year-old students at Woodrow Wilson High School, left their classrooms for the walkout around lunch time.
“Most of us are voting in the next election,” she said. “Even most freshmen this year can vote.”
Despite their dissent, it is not likely that the students would pose much of a threat to Trump in future elections. The city’s electoral votes are already reliably Democratic.
James Poindexter, 17, said he was initially skeptical about the walkout. But he was heartened by the turnout.
“We … are saying we won’t be divided,” he said.