Hundreds of high schoolers from across New York descended on Foley Square on Tuesday afternoon as part of a city-wide walk out in protest of President Trump’s travel ban.
The walkout, organized by student activists through social media, was initially planned in opposition to the executive orders signed on January 27 preventing refugees and immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the US.
Yet the students also gathered to condemn the confirmation of Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary earlier in day after a contentious 51-50 Senate vote, and to voice their support for other causes, including Black Lives Matter.
“I’m here to unite with my fellow students and to stand up for a greater cause,” said seventeen-year-old Tydell Brown from Brooklyn Friends School.
“I hope for our voices to be heard. There is so much to say but we don’t really have the platform to get it across and I feel like a lot of adults feel that the youth are unaware of what is going on,” he added.
The protest ended with a march from Foley Square to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services building at 26 Federal Plaza.
Nineteen-year-old Hale Sheffield, a student organizer from NYC iSchool, said the walk out was supposed to be disruptive to schools and students alike.
“Protests should never be convenient – that’s the whole point. I’m missing my calculus test right now but some people are missing their rights. It’s not easy for them so it shouldn’t be easy for me fighting that.
“Students around the city are fed up that their voices aren’t heard. Students are being directly affected by the Muslim ban, as are their families,” she added.