Community ‘Rallies to Restore Sanity’ at USM

Nov. 14, 2016 at The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Miss. 

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USM student Hiba Tahir stands with a sign outside of USM. Tahir writes a column weekly about being a Muslim-American student in the south.
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‘Rally to Restore Sanity’ Event Organizer Farah Habad stands in the median on Hardy Street across from The University of Southern Mississippi, Nov. 14, 2016.

In the wake of the 2016 presidential election results, several metropolitan cities have experienced large-scale riots and protesting due to president-elect Donald Trump’s surprising win.

On Nov. 14, students gathered at the front of The University of Southern Mississippi for an event, organized through Facebook, to rally together.

Event Organizer Farah Habad set out for this evening to be a peaceful rally that “fills the tangible void of love” and that the event was not “Anti-Trump.” Habad said he was an African-American Muslim liberal who is scared of these recent results.

“I’ve got to channel it into something positive,” Habad said. “I’m just trying to put a little love out there. I’ve gotten past the point of being angry about where the world is going. I’m at the ‘Okay, now what?’ stage.”

At 5 p.m, community members walked to the front of the school with signs declaring, “Love Trumps Hate” and “Build Bridges Not Walls.” By 5:30 p.m. more than 35 people stood outside USM to spread a positive message.

Although the crowd received several approving honks, many persons passing by in the 5-o-clock rush-hour traffic yelled at them obscenities such as “Fuck you,” “Hillary lost you morons” and “Donald Trump rules.”

Nearby in the city of New Orleans, riots and protests have broken out nearly every night only resting on the sabbath – following Trump’s victory. Protestors burned effigies of Trump, defaced the Robert E. Lee monument with graffiti and vandalized buildings along their marching route.

Habad said he cannot blame anyone for how they greive.

“First, I wouldn’t categorize the reactions in New Orleans as riots,” Habad said. “There’s a reason why they are saying and doing the things they are. They didin’t wake up one morning and decide they’re oppressed. It’s years and years of systmeic violence finally reaching a boiling point.

“What kids do after football games are riots.What’s going on around the country is a collective understanding of just how crazy things have gotten.”

At approximately 6:45 p.m., the rally ended with no burned effigies, vandalism or hate speech toward any group or Trump himself.

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