Dear Wheaton Community:
The end of the semester is finally upon us. Soon (if not already) we will be burying ourselves in books at Buswell, reading over that same paragraph thirty times, and trying to memorize concepts and vocabulary that we’ll forget next semester. Some of us are very excited about the thought of returning home, sleeping in our own beds, watching Netflix, and spending time with loved ones during the holiday season.
For others, returning home means dealing with more stress-inducing conversations about what will happen once President-elect Trump takes office. Some of us worry about the effects of “law and order” and policing in vulnerable communities or about what will be our family’s next steps if deported in the coming year, as we watch story after story about hate crimes targeted at our own communities.
At Wheaton, we fear the campus has not fully grasped the seriousness of this presidency. Yes, there was an event covering “Black Lives Matter in the age of Donald Trump,” but was that supposed to be the end of it – have conversations continued? And why didn’t we have more of these conversations earlier? Many of us returned to campus scared after the election, and many of our professors did not acknowledge our fear. The chaplain’s office and President Ryken offered lukewarm responses, attempting to play a diplomatic role to Trump supporters, and failing to speak up for so many of us on campus: sexual assault survivors, family of undocumented immigrants, LGBTQ+ people, refugees, and so many others who have been the target of President-elect Trump’s volatile rhetoric.
We do not believe the President-elect will stop with this fear-mongering rhetoric. Those who make attempts to trivialize or calm our fears by suggesting he will not follow through on his promises absolve themselves of responsibility to care for their fellow human beings. We would be remiss if we failed to mention the Wheaton community as a whole. We do not expect the administration to take risks for the vulnerable. They do not know how and they do not understand why they should. We should not shame them for doing what they do best: appease their conservative constituency. What we are mostly saddened by is the people on campus who do care, yet who’ve failed to speak out and act in light of the consequences of this election. We have been deeply disappointed by our professors who have said nothing. Non-religious universities across the country have responded to the election of this racist, xenophobic, fascist, sexual predator by canceling class, marching, and demanding that business-as-usual cannot go on while our brothers, sisters, and non-binary peoples, live in fear of what he can (and will) do to the most marginalized in our communities.
At Wheaton, it is easy for us to disavow the parts of the Gospel which demand care for the marginalized. Perhaps we hide behind verses like 1 Peter 2:7 which says “honor the King” and dismiss protest by quoting the mandate of Romans 13:1 to respect those in power. We fail to consider the narrative of Amos, which condemns the oppressive actions of Northern Israel, and we forget about Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego’s actions of civil disobedience towards King Nebuchadnezzar.
We are calling ALL Wheaton students, staff, and faculty to join us in our “March Against Silence” on Friday, December 2nd at 3:45pm, to raise our voices and show our support for the vulnerable within our community and those outside. We are not a tribe. We are Christians. Martin Luther King, Jr. said “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere; Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” We will begin our march outside Edman Chapel and finish in the administrative office in Blanchard Hall. We encourage you to stand with us as we raise our voices for justice and stand for Jesus the King! To God be the glory.
– Josh Doty, Natia Weathers, Maryam Bighash, Hannah Garringer