The phrase “He will not divide us” was repeated over and over near the Museum of the Moving Image, but what exactly does this mean?
January 20, Inauguration Day, was the first day that the “He Will Not Divide Us” camera, located on a wall outside of the Museum of the Moving Image, became public to all. Actor Shia LaBouef intended to streamed the wall constantly, throughout the duration of Trump’s presidency, and people were invited to chant the phrase “He will not divide us” as an act of “resistance or insistence, opposition or optimism,” according to the event’s website. However, this project was abandoned by the Museum of the Moving Image due concerns regarding public safety, and had since been relocated to a wall in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Since the protest was near BSGE, many students were interested in it. More than half the school attended the event, coming away from it with strong impressions. As Aayman Abdellatif ‘18 put it, “It was an amazing effort to unite people of different ethnicities and cultures in a time of division.” Another student who supported the message of this event, Kayla Power ’20, said, “It was smart to give people an outlet for their negative feelings towards such a prejudicial person.” Emily Costa ‘17 was also fond of this idea, saying, “I was excited and glad we could have our voices heard,” and explaining that the nature of this project was a way for people to voice their opinions and have a chance to be heard by the public.
There were also students that questioned this event. Simona Matovics ‘17 said, “I think it was based on a good idea, but I wonder how much of the participation in it was just to see celebrities or treat it as a joke rather than address the cause.” With artists there to publicize the event, one questions whether people were there to meet the artists or make a statement about the issue that the protest was a response to. When asked what their initial reaction when finding out about this protest was, some students, including Clement Leaveu ‘18, merely wanted to meet Shia LaBeouf. As the event had been publicized by artists such as LaBeouf, the real intentions to why people went remains unclear. A junior who did not want to be named gave her input on the protest, calling it a “Good idea with a good cause, but [it] wouldn’t last or would die out if Shia and Jaden Smith left.”
The protest was relocated outside the El Rey Theater, Albuquerque, New Mexico as of February 18, 2017, since the Museum of the Moving Image left the project after public safety concerns appeared. Despite the relocation, however, the project allowed freedom of expression of one’s personal agenda and a way to connect with the community when protesting with others.