Notre Dame is a predominantly Catholic school in Vice President Mike Pence’s former state of governance (Indiana) but that didn’t stop his appearance at the school’s graduation from upsetting dozens of new graduates.
A number of videos are surfacing on Twitter capturing a sizable walk-out as Pence began his commencement speech Sunday (May 21.) In the videos, he is met with both boos and applause, and at least 50 students march out from the stadium, a few clad in LGBTQ flags.
It was not a spontaneous gesture; the walkout was planned by organizers who told CNN they objected to Pence’s policies that “have marginalized our vulnerable sisters and brothers” both while he was governor of Indiana and as vice president of the United States. “We feel that there is power in truth,” organizer Luis Miranda said.
Protest organizers also released a statement explaining that Pence “rejected the Syrian refugee resettlement program, supported an unconstitutional ban of religious minorities, and fought against sanctuary cities.”
— WNDU (@WNDU) May 21, 2017
“As a member of the small but proud LGBTQ community at Notre Dame, the university’s support of an anti-LGBTQ politician is both frustrating and sad,” one student said in a Youtube video created to raise awareness about the planned protest.
NPR points out that Pence signed “one of the most restrictive” abortion laws in the U.S. in 2016 and has said same-sex marriage could cause “societal collapse,” so we cannot exactly say that we blame them.
Peaceful protests have spiked this year in response to an increasingly polarizing administration, and have even gained some results (like the DAPL protests under Obama.) And just as Miranda believes in there is “power in truth,” there is also significance in speaking truth to power.