UConn students plan to protest recent executive orders despite snowfall

Demonstrators hold signs during a the first in a series of "Resist Trump Tuesdays, on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017, at Grand Army Plaza in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (Kathy Willens/AP)

A group of students are organizing a rally at the University of Connecticut on Wednesday afternoon to protest the recent executive orders of President Donald J. Trump, despite the snow and slush.


“Our real overarching goal with this rally is to take our voices to the next level,” organizer and UConn sophomore Omar Taweh said. “What I mean by this is making sure that rather than simply voicing our opinions as educated students, we are also communicating those opinions and ideas to those who represent us at the state and federal level.”

Taweh, along with fellow UConn student activists Usra Qureshi, Eeman Abbasi, Ryan Englander, Klara Reisch and Eric Cruz López, will be leading the protests from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on the Student Union quad. Taweh said the protest will not be deterred by Tuesday’s snowfall.

Since taking office, President Trump has issued several controversial executive orders including the initiative to build a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico; barring federal funds from organizations that promote abortion globally, including the International Planned Parenthood Federation; and a ban on immigration from seven pre-dominantly Muslim countries for 90 days.

The rally was inspired by past protests such as the Women’s March in Washington D.C. and the Bradley International Airport protest, said Englander, a sixth-semester molecular and cell biology and chemistry major.

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“We (organizers) were all disgruntled with what was going on and it has only been a few weeks with Trump in office so we decided we needed to do something here at UConn,” Englander said.

The rally will begin with different speakers to bring awareness to certain issues and then transition to workshops, said Abbasi, a fifth-semester physiology and neurobiology major with an individual study in health and human rights in the Middle East.

“[The workshops] will be equipping students with skills to take action like letter-writing to local congressmen and senators, and phone banking,” said Abbasi.

Abbasi herself will be holding a tabling event for students to speak to her and fellow Muslims to address preconceptions of the faith.

Individual students from different organizations will be speaking but no formal on-campus organization is sponsoring the event, said Qureshi, a fourth-semester physiology and neurobiology and human rights major.

“We’re ensuring we’re covering all the issues including Black Lives Matters, climate change and reproductive rights,” Qureshi said.

Qureshi said the organizers are relying on social media to spread the word and other groups have already approached them in support of the rally.

The organizers are hoping students will learn how to take action following a protest said Taweh.

“Only if the students actually do something about their ideas, can we begin to see a change in the way our government functions,” Taweh said.


Neel Razdan is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at neel.razdan@uconn.edu.