University of Minnesota students promote panel paintings on the busy Washington Avenue Bridge once a year on the Twin Cities campus. One of the student groups, College Republicans, hung up a mural reading “Build the Wall.” Uproar sparked on social media, and certain students began protesting the banner.
A nonprofit organization advocating for illegal immigrant students, called NAVIGATE MN, posted an image on its Facebook page saying that it “echoes the anti-Mexican, anti-immigrant racist rhetoric” of Donald Trump, the Republican presidential candidate. The organization led more than 150 immigration activists to the bridge in protest of the controversial painting Saturday afternoon.
“This political campaign is turning people against one another and is using the tool of dehumanizing other human beings for political gain,” said Emilia Gonzalez Avalos, of NAVIGATE MN, at the protest. “Your free speech hurts … and marginalizes people. There [should be] a line.”
“I don’t like vandalism,” Sen. Kari Dziedzic said. “They have their free speech, and we have our free speech. But I think we can reach out and we can be louder.” She further adds:
“As the granddaughter of Polish immigrants and Irish immigrants, I think we need to be building bridges … not walls. That’s kind of what America is. This is where people have opportunities. We don’t care what your background is, and we don’t care where you came from. We all came from some place else.”
The protesters can be seen below:
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