Following the recent trend of mass protests all around the country, students from the cities of South Gate, Bell and Huntington Park walked out of their respective campuses, two days after it was announced Donald J. Trump would be America’s next president.
It began with students from neighboring rival, South Gate High School, interrupting lunch at South East High School. The front gate was bombarded by passionate students repeatedly shouting, “Walk out!”
South Gate was reaching out to South East students, hoping to unify and get other students to raise their voice. A few students were able to get past the gates and join their city rival. To them, the outcome of this year’s Azalea Bowl didn’t matter, and the heated history between both schools ceased to exist for a moment.
Lunch was cut a few minutes short as a result. Due to strict administration, the majority of South East students were rushed straight to their classes before they caught wind of what was happening just mere steps away. Students quickly got informed through social media and tweeted with the hashtag “#notmydean” to address their frustration at Mr. Lopez, the dean of students.
Christian Gutierrez, a student at South East mentioned how he wanted to leave. “I think it was a good cause [but] it was hard to walk out with our [tough] administration.”
South Gate students continued to shout outside South East’s front gate after students were forced into their fourth period class. A silent response from the school prompted South Gate and a handful of South East’s 2,800 students to take the fight to Legacy High School, located about 2.5 miles away from South East.
With both schools represented, the protest group managed to shut down Tweedy Boulevard, the city’s “Downtown District”, if you will.
Meanwhile, classes at South East resumed. Some students spent the rest of the day upset at the missed opportunity while others thought the protesters were depriving themselves of an education.
Mariella Solano, a South East student, had mixed feelings about the situation. “I feel like half just did it to walk out without meaning. It won’t change the fact that he’s president.” Despite believing that the protesters were disrupting class and their education, she resonated with them. “I would [also] want to make sure Trump knows we don’t want him. He’s ‘not my president.’”
The walkout lasted well until the end of the school day as the protesters were gathered at the Azalea Shopping Center, recruiting more people to join the fight. South East students joined the group as soon as classes were over. By the end of the day, five high schools were rallied in front of South Gate City Hall: South Gate High School, South East High School, Legacy High School, Bell High School, and Huntington Park High School (the latter two came from further distances).
A South Gate High School student led the charge as the crowd chanted in Spanish, “Latinos unidos jamas seran vencidos!” which translates to “Latinos united will never be defeated!”
By putting their rivalries aside and coming together, students are proving that united, they can never be defeated, especially not by the man who’s next in line to become the next president…just not theirs.