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MU Students Hold "Love-Fest Protest" in Response to Trump Win

WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. – On Friday, November 11, Monmouth University students organized a “Love-Fest Protest” for members of the community to come together and support spreading love around campus.
The purpose of the protest was to give people associated with the University an opportunity to show love for people who were negatively affected by the nomination of Donald Trump as President of the United States earlier last week. This protest was not an anti-Trump protest, but an “anti-hate” protest.

Image courtesy of Christina Addison
Image courtesy of Christina Addison

Graduate and undergraduate students, faculty, staff, and friends of the University were present at the protest to show support for people who have experienced hate speech or have felt threatened due to the election results. People were given the opportunity to speak about their feelings on the President Elect, and send messages of love to everyone affected. The brave speakers that took the microphone shared powerful words.
Much of the conversation consisted of people expressing fear for their rights as American citizens. African-American, LGBTQ+, Muslim, Jewish, and all minorities discriminated against made it clear that as a University and as a country, we need to work together to make sure people feel safe when Trump takes office. People present at the protest heard many personal stories and ample feelings of apprehension about the direction that this country is taking.
Some protesters decided to read poems that served as words of encouragement to minorities in this uneasy time, to show everyone that there is still good in the world – and that good is centered around love.
After the gathering in front of Wilson Hall, all of the Love-Fest protesters began to march around campus with motivational signs. Some of which read, “Love Not Hate”, “Love Trumps Hate”, “This is an Anti-Hate Protest, not an Anti-Trump Protest”, and a famous quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Image courtesy of Rebecca Roth
Image courtesy of Rebecca Roth

The march started in front of Wilson Hall, and made its way down to the residential side of campus. Around the dorms, students yelled from their windows, “Donald Trump”, or “Make America great again”. To this, the peaceful protesters simply responded, “we love you, this is an anti-hate protest, and we love you.”
As the march gained momentum, every protester was chanting, “Love not hate!” They traveled to the academic side of campus, where students and faculty walking by began to join in on the protest. The march ended in front of Wilson Hall with some final words of love and encouragement.
“I think the protest went wonderfully,” says Emily Ciavatta, a junior at Monmouth and a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community. “It was inclusive, impactful, and full of love. That was the entire point.”
It was beautiful to see the University come together to support a group of people that are facing fear and anxiety as a result of Donald Trump’s nomination. This Love-Fest Protest functioned as a safe place for people to express their worries, and for allies to stand up and say, “I am with you.”