Over 50 students, staff and parents from Pasadena’s Sequoyah School marched from campus to City Hall Tuesday morning armed with signs in hand and chanting synchronized slogans to protest President Trump’s Executive Order restricting individuals from seven Muslim-majority nations to enter the United States.
“The students organized the entire march. When the Executive Order was signed, students came into the classroom sort of having heard a little bit about it so we paused our lessons and we talked about it. They made signs and they came up with chants in the response to the Executive Order that is restricting travel to the U.S. from people that are from seven of majority Muslim countries,” said Sequoyah School Teacher Cynthia Lee.
The students were puzzled, according to Lee, with the results and why the Executive Order was signed and put into action so quickly.
“They brainstormed a whole bunch of different measures to take. Some students started writing letters to Congress, some started making signs and a group organized this march. What we really want to show and express are the positive things that we want to see in the world,” explained Lee.
A Sequoyah School math teacher performed a lesson where the students had to figure out the percentage of Muslims in America who were actually involved in terrorist attacks, according to Lee.
“Students came in after election day with tears and with a lot of worry and so we decided to crack it open and talk about it and let them express themselves,” said Lee.
Math teacher Chad Robinson took matters in his own hands to create a math lesson that gave students real numbers of Muslim individuals in the country that were proven have been convicted or implicated in terrorism-related crimes since September 11, 2001.
“In math class, students used recently acquired knowledge on ratios, fractions, and percentages to examine the numbers behind the Executive Order,” said math teacher Chad Robinson.
According to Robinson, students found that Muslim terrorists were responsible for approximately 0.05% of all homicides, barely more than from domestic Nationalist groups. They also compiled the amount of known American Muslims where were involved in terrorist acts in 2016 and compared them to the total amount of Muslims, which was about 0.008%.
This math lesson resonated with students and prompting them to take action in a peaceful manner.
“After the lesson, a group of students asked me what they could do to prevent the ban and that’s when students started organizing the march,” Robinson explained.
For some students, marching to City Hall was a the first step in letting adults know that minors hold just as valuable opinions as anyone else.
“I want a lot of people to know that kids care about the problems too and it’s not just adults,” said sixth grade student Aidan Grimm.
“It’s not fair that adults are usually the only ones taken seriously. Us kids have a voice and an opinion as well so we think it’s important to state that opinion and make sure people realize that there are kids our age who feel that this is really important,” said sixth grader Sofia Wilson.
Parents in the march were supportive of the school’s marching efforts and overall student participation.
“I think it’s a really big change in our community now that we’re going to have to learn a different way of communicating with a greater group of our society and that learning how to stand up for your rights whether it’s with a group or individually, doing research and learning how to tell those ideas to everybody, I think, is really a big change,” said Sequoyah School parent Renee Dake Wilson.