All Nations United as Students Speak out for Huddled Masses; in a Month That Has Seen Anti-Trump Protests across the Country, 17-Year-Old Bridget Finn Speaks to Fellow Students at an International College in South Wales, Who Have Made It Their Mission to Take to the Streets to Stand Shoulder to Shoulder with Their Welsh Neighbours to Voice a Global Perspective

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), February 25, 2017 | Go to article overview

All Nations United as Students Speak out for Huddled Masses; in a Month That Has Seen Anti-Trump Protests across the Country, 17-Year-Old Bridget Finn Speaks to Fellow Students at an International College in South Wales, Who Have Made It Their Mission to Take to the Streets to Stand Shoulder to Shoulder with Their Welsh Neighbours to Voice a Global Perspective


AS International Baccalaureate students at UWC Atlantic College my classmates represent one of the most culturally diverse groups of students imaginable. We range from UK residents like me, to scholarship students from some of the most poverty-stricken and wartorn regions in the world. They include students from many of the seven countries President Trump seeks to include in his "Muslim ban".

For the majority of us, the decision to study in Wales alongside students from across the globe stems from a shared desire to make a difference in the world. While it may seem idealistic, everyone here is united in our college's mission to make education a force for peace.

There are around 350 of us students at the college, and we've come to Wales from more than 90 different countries and cultures. To say that everyone here was, and still is, outraged by Donald Trump's policies would be an understatement.

When reality hit about Trump's election, I can only describe the atmosphere on campus as one of shock, even disbelief. Regardless of where each student calls home, the USA or the United Arab Emirates, few of us expected that Trump would become President.

That feeling seemed to persist until the day of his inauguration, surely the outlandish political promises outlined during the election race were just tactics? This wasn't naivety on our part, more a hope against hope that sanity would prevail.

Here at our campus on the south Wales coast we gathered to watch the ceremony and the realities of Trump's presidency unfold. Picture the scene, 350 students from around the globe, with a shared dream of working to break down the walls that divide peoples, then witnessing Trump acting to instigate policies that would literally be building them.

In January a group of around 200 UWC Atlantic College students from across the world went to Cardiff to join the peaceful demonstration against Donald Trump's "Muslim Ban" and Theresa May's refusal to speak out against his actions. The ban would directly affect many people at UWC Atlantic College, particularly those who hope to continue their studies at universities in the United States.

I first found out an anti-Trump protest was being planned in Cardiff on social media, only a day before it was planned to happen. I asked a couple of friends if they wanted to join, and it just caught on. Soon there was an online signing sheet listing showing that hundreds of fellow students were planning to travel into the city to join the protest at a day's notice.

As a sign of solidarity and anger, we took to the streets. We believe that in times of injustice to be impartial is to choose the side of the oppressor, so we took action. With petitions and banners in hand we chanted our views down the streets of Cardiff, along with hundreds of other peaceful protesters. Voices from around the world joined those from Wales in harmony - "Build bridges, not walls", "No ban, no walls, no hate" and "No human is illegal". …

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All Nations United as Students Speak out for Huddled Masses; in a Month That Has Seen Anti-Trump Protests across the Country, 17-Year-Old Bridget Finn Speaks to Fellow Students at an International College in South Wales, Who Have Made It Their Mission to Take to the Streets to Stand Shoulder to Shoulder with Their Welsh Neighbours to Voice a Global Perspective
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