A crowd of over 1000 people attended a campaign rally for U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton held in UCR Athletics’ Johnson Family Practice Center on Tuesday, May 24. The former secretary of state spoke on the significance of the UCR community, advocated for women’s rights, discussed the risks of electing Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and promoted her economic policies.
Teresa Rodriguez, State Senator Richard Ross, Chairman of the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians Mark Macarro, actor Jason George, field director Pam Sparrow, actress Mary Steenburgen and community member Susanne Delaney expressed their support for Clinton during her introduction.
Clinton began by focusing on raising the minimum wage, the gender wage gap, unemployment and accessibility to education. “We have to make sure education is available and affordable to everyone,” Clinton relayed. “We need to make college affordable so that you don’t have to borrow … and pay off your (student) debt.”
In addition, Clinton expressed support for free community college in the United States, a proposal that President Barack Obama made in February of 2015. “It’s not only about improving a four-year university education, we need to support more technical education and more union apprenticeship jobs,” Clinton concluded.
During her speech, Clinton did not address her current Democratic primary opponent Bernie Sanders, nor did any of the supporters who spoke during her introduction. Rather, Clinton focused on critiquing Trump, offering, “We’re going to take on Donald Trump on the issues that matter. He can go ahead and engage in insulting and scapegoating and bullying people … but I think the American voter is a lot smarter than that to fall for that.”
Outside of the center, approximately 30 protesters, including students affiliated with the “Highlanders Against Hillary” campaign, faced off with counter-protesters before and during the candidate’s campaign speech. Many of the chants stated: “As people of color under attack, what do we do? Stand up fight back!” and “The prison system’s broken. Our people are not your tokens!”
History PhD student David Chavez explained his criticism of Clinton stating, “In terms of the democratic party, which she represents, which she is spearheading, (it) is a party that continues to … privatize everything in our everyday life and really support capitalism and global imperialism around the world.”
One of the counter-protesters, Guy Harrell, was critical of the protesters tactics, however, claiming they weren’t open to creating a dialogue. “If you don’t want to be here for a dialogue then why be here in the first place,” Harrell explained. “The whole purpose of speaking in a protest form is that you’re giving some type of information or bringing some sort of idea.”
Tuesday’s stop at UCR was one of two events Clinton’s campaign held in California, as she spoke in Commerce earlier in the day.
This article is subject to change and will be updated throughout the week.