Sam Bernstein managing editor
The “Move the Metro” movement has not been taken seriously. The Los Angeles Times railed on the movement in an editorial published on the morning of the student walkout protesting the Metro’s construction on campus. Only 300 BHHS students attended the highly publicized walkout. Morgan Polikoff, a professor at USC, went as far as to call Beverly Hills ‘trash’. The last thing protestors needed was for the event to become more controversial than it already was, and somehow they did that too. Calling on president Donald Trump to move the purple line is irresponsible and damaging for the movement.
Protestors were provided with signage that read “President Trump, Save Our Students” and “President Trump, You Can Fix This”. Objectively, he can’t. There is no chance that Trump has time to personally “fix” the situation at hand. There is even less of a chance that Trump will ever hear, nor care, about today’s events. Continuing to force the idea that Trump will act as a savior and “Move the Metro” is counterproductive. It makes us look privileged and foolish. Boyle Heights residents didn’t call on the president when the gold line went through their neighborhood, and we shouldn’t either. The fact that members of our community think that we’re specifically special enough to get the attention of the president is ignorant and misguided. It proves to outsiders that we are as out of touch with the rest of the county as they think we are. Begging the president of the United States to create legislation that will specifically move a metro line from under our high school with 1400 students makes us sound incredibly privileged, and that, again, is the last thing the “Move the Metro” movement needs.
The worst part of this fiasco is that some protestors were willing to be partisan in front of news cameras. Students brought a banner in support of the president to the rally, flashing it at every camera that they saw, and the media members that were present ate it up. Photos of students at the protest with “Make America Great Again” memorabilia began to circulate on the internet, and that’s when the walkout began to fall apart. Students who sought out attention received it, and we all lose as a result of it. “Move the Metro” became partisan.
Politicizing today’s events further polarizes the two sides of the metro debate: Beverly against (what feels like) the rest of the world. Students who decided to make a mockery of the protests and call out journalists who were present for being “fake news” is the worst PR imaginable, and people won’t take our concerns seriously as a result of this. We have no reason to expect positive coverage when we act like we did in front of a national audience today. Being disrespectful to those who disagree with the “Move the Metro” movement is detrimental to the efforts made by the leaders of the Student Action Coalition. They are working hard and they didn’t deserve the reaction they did from those outside of our community.
If we want change, it’s time to move away from Trump. It’s time to call on city officials to try harder on our behalf to create the change the student body so desperately wants. We have to step out of our comfort zone and actually confront local officials instead of calling on the president of the United States. Today’s events pitted many against the student body; however, it doesn’t have to be like that. We have to be better in front of a national audience if we want anyone to respect our concerns.