Among the many protests spurred by new President Donald Trump, an event has taken place just a few blocks from campus. Hope College students joined hundreds of others at the protest against Betsy DeVos at Centennial Park in Holland. On Saturday morning at 11 a.m., those who object Betsy DeVos’ nomination as Secretary of Education marched the perimeter of the park.
Picket signs decorated with the cause were held high and aimed to show their outcry. The protest purposely took place in DeVos’ hometown, in order to gain more attention and support.
At Devos’ confirmation hearing, Sen. Bernie Sanders asked her the question, “Do you think if you were not a multi-billionaire, if your family has not made hundreds of millions of dollars of contributions to the Republican Party, that you would be sitting here today?” There has been a large public disapproval to Devos’ nomination as she has been linked to nearly $200 million in contributions to the Republican Party by her family. With little experience in the field, many feel she would not have made her path to her position if it had not been for her family’s wealth.
She has been shown to be in favor of the school-voucher system and for-profit models that some feel is putting money over the education of students. Her confirmation was pushed back after the Office of Government Ethics found possible conflicts of interest between DeVos and her possible new job. Her opponents in the nomination raised strong concerns about the education policies she advocates for, such as shifting resources from public schools and weakening federal policies that protect susceptible students from bias.
The protest has been described as peaceful with drivers in their vehicles honking support as they passed by.
Olivia Lauritsen (’17) shares her passion for the protest. As a art education major, these changes for the education system affect her in the future.
Students are getting involved and making their voices heard. They are participating in the issues they feel their country is in and taking the steps to make the change they want to see.
Read more about the Centennial Park protest here.