Tonight’s Educ 300 Class: Past and Present Activism on Anti-Immigration Policies

Dear students in Educ 300: Educ Reform Past & Present

Many of us are deeply troubled by the Trump administration’s ban on refugees and immigrants from select Muslim nations.

In tonight’s class, I hope that historical thinking can help us to become wiser about responding to present-day events. We’ll examine anti-immigrant stances from more than a century ago, and explore how natives and newcomers fought over similar issues during the Common School movement. Although the past never exactly repeats itself, history can help us to reflect on how to make sense and take action in today’s perilous times.

One student emailed me to explain that they are participating in a silent protest as an act of solidarity, to let me know that they may not speak in tonight’s class. I understand that each of us must follow our conscience.

But I ask you to think carefully about whether a silent protest in a college classroom is the most effective way to show solidarity. In my view, Trump wants “silence” from students, activists, and especially the news media. We at Trinity have an incredible privilege: our liberal arts education teaches us how to speak truth to power.

If you’re as angry as I am about Trump’s policies, then I encourage you to join me tonight to learn about the past, get politically organized, and raise your voice in protest. If students wish, I am more than willing to set aside part of tonight’s agenda to build more connections between past and present and discuss how to translate ideas in action.