In New Brunswick, A Different Kind of Protest

f2e9200e5bc2893c1393_vm_protest_1.jpg
People went on strike against President Donald Trump on Friday at Rutgers University's Voorhees Mall.
f2e9200e5bc2893c1393_vm_protest_1.jpg

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — The wind whipped and stung more than it had in weeks as Bob Dylan songs played from a Macbook at Voorhees Mall, Rutgers University’s sweeping lawn off College Avenue.

A handful of people gathered around a rainbow-colored blanket. Near them sat bags of Milano cookies, homemade sandwiches and a batch of ravioli stuffed with spinach and cheese and covered in pesto sauce.

Passersby could’ve almost been forgiven for assuming the get-together was a rare winter picnic. But the anti-Donald Trump and pro-resistance posters strewn about on Friday made clear that this was yet another local demonstration against the new president and his policies.

Sign Up for E-News

Even so, this event—a satellite of the National General Strike—was different than the other booming marches and protests that have taken place in recent months around New Brunswick.

“The idea was not so much to rally or chant about anything,” Laurent Reyes, an organizer of the strike in her first year of Rutgers’ doctorate program in social work, told TAPinto New Brunswick. “It was more about having a conversation, thinking about that this means and what we want to get out of all of these events.”

An activist group called Strike4Democracy had put last week’s demonstration into motion. The plan was for participants to not go to work, school or spend money. The hope, according to the national organizer, was that this event would show their “dissent of unconstitutional governance” under Trump.

As opposed to some of the large marches that have spread through the Hub City, the scene was quiet. Friends joked and laughed and listened to protest music. One person kept warm by knitting a pink hat—the kind made famous by January’s Women’s March on Washington.

By the early afternoon, 20 or so supporters had come to the New Brunswick strike, hung out a bit and left. More were expected to come as the day progressed.

Five people, including two organizers, were busy talking and handing out protest fliers to those walking between Hamilton and Seminary Place.

Some who passed by accepted fliers and signaled their support for the movement.

But others, Reyes said, seemed a bit cold. Maybe they disagreed. Maybe the freezing weather got to them. Or maybe all of the activism in recent weeks had caused them to grow tired and ready for a break.

“Fatigue, for me, is hard to understand because we just got started,” Reyes said. “If you need to take a break and recalibrate before you go out again, do it. But don’t give up.”

Hundreds of thousands of people across the U.S. have taken to the streets since Trump’s rise to power. New Brunswick has seen thousands of its residents and Rutgers students do the same.

Indeed, the act has become so popular that some pundits and comedians have dryly claimed that protesting is the new brunch.

This renewed focus on demonstrating is in part what inspired the organizers of the city strike to act. They said Rutgers has proven itself a hotbed of passionate dissidents, and it’s time to better map out the path forward.

“I think we kind of hit this weird tipping point,” Stephanie Mischell, a longtime activist who is studying at the medical school to become an abortion provider, said. “Maybe things had to get so bad for people to wake up to what’s been going on, and what has honestly been going on long before Trump.”

From that angle, these smaller, more intimate gatherings offer a chance to discuss long-term problems in society, the new urgency that activists feel under Trump and where to go from here.

Protesters also get to connect and build friendships when their voices aren’t coarse from yelling and their feet battered from marching.

But regardless of how their message gets out, the strikers at Voorhees Mall said it’s critical that it keeps getting out.

“If it’s needed, I’ll be out here every week,” Mischell said. “But I would really like to think about what else we can be doing—how else we can be thinking about resistance.”

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Piscataway

Edison Public Library Donation Drive for Edison Animal Shelter

June 6, 2018

The Edison Township Free Public Library is partnering with the Edison Animal Shelter to do a donation drive for the Edison Animal Shelter. There is a checklist of all items that are being accepted at the animal shelter. These checklists can be found above and the donation bins will be available at all three branches. We will be collecting items until the end of June. For more ...

9-story apartment complex with roof-top pool formally opens in New Brunswick

June 20, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - The city's latest luxury apartment building recently held a formal opening for the complex on Neilson Street that has a roof-top pool with cabanas and grills, a dog park and pet spa.

The Quincy, a 393-unit, nine story building opened last month, offering studio and one- and two-bedroom apartment ranging in size from 503 to 1,236 square feet.

Mayor James Cahill said ...

Obituaries

Toms River – Mary Stella Whiteman, 97, passed away peacefully Saturday May 19, 2018 in Rose ...
Read more
Piscataway – Reinhard Rudolf Kiefer, 85, died Sunday March 11, 2018 at home. Born in ...
Read more

The ESCNJ Offers Innovative Software To Strengthen School Transportation

June 20, 2018

New software promising greater speed and efficiency for school transportation departments is now available through the Educational Services Commission of New Jersey (ESCNJ).

The software is the result of a two year collaboration between the Princeton based Artha Systems, an international supplier of business management software, and the ESCNJ.

“The software is unlike anything on the ...

Registration Open For Fourth Annual Softball & Baseball Summer Camp

SPOTSWOOD, NJ - Registration is open for the Spotswood Youth Baseball and Softball League's fourth annual summer camp. The camp is for ages five through 15 and will be held every Wednesday in August from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. beginning August 1. In the event of rain on either August 1, August 8, August 15, August 22 or August 29, a makeup camp will be held on the following Friday.

Camp will ...

Rutgers-Camden students who saved man from fire honored by City of Camden

Camden, NJ—The Rutgers-Camden students who saved an elderly man from a March fire at his Cooper Street home were honored by the City of Camden Tuesday night.

Mayor Frank Moran awarded proclamations to Corey Zytko, Jonathan Perez-Gaytan, Matteo Resanovic, Vanessa Solis Palma, Sehwan Park and Tammy Meneses on Tuesday, June 12.

On the night of March 23, the students were hanging out in ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_8f0a915f696bb2ae1366_community_shred

Sat, June 23, 9:00 AM

Quibbletown Park, Piscataway

Piscataway Township Paper Shredding Event

Government Green

Wed, June 27, 7:00 PM

Piscataway Public Library, Piscataway

Empowerment for the Job Search: Applications & ...

Business & Finance

Thu, July 5, 7:00 PM

Piscataway Public Library, Piscataway

Trivia Night at the Library!

Arts & Entertainment

Westfield High School Sophomore Dies; Counselors on Hand at School

June 19, 2018

WESTFIELD, NJ — Carthoris “Carter” Uziel, a sophomore at Westfield High School, died Sunday night, according to Westfield Public Schools and a letter sent to parents by Principal Dr. Derrick Nelson.

“Words cannot convey the grief we feel in the Westfield Public Schools community over the death of Carthoris ‘Carter’ Uziel, a sophomore at Westfield High ...

My So-Called Graduation

The last of my children graduated from high school.  

 

My son and daughter threw their caps high into the air and cheered their liberation from one symbolic institution before contemplating their matriculation into other, much larger institutions significantly further away.  

 

Or at least far enough away that they won’t be needing rides home from ...