Gage Skidmore / Flickr betsy devos...
Gage Skidmore / Flickr

While Trump’s swamp-addled Education Secretary Betsy DeVos tried to speak at Harvard University to sell her special privatization of public school branding “school choice,” she found herself the subject of an incredibly powerful and well orchestrated “silent” protest. Silently standing up as the DeVos speech got under way was one young woman, holding up a sheet with “White Supremacist” emblazoned in red on it. Then another young man stood up silently with a sign reading “Our Students Are Not 4 Sale!” As security tried move protestors along by speaking to them, more and more students unfurled signs saying “Protect Survivors’ Rights,” “Our Harvard Can Do Better,” “Reclaiming My Democracy,” and “Dark Money,” amongst others. During her stupid speech promoting charter schools, she tried the rhetorical oratory trick of asking a rhetorical question.

DeVos: So what do we do? Increase funding? Does that solve the problem?

To which a student responded “Yes.” In the silence of the room, the answer is clear and perfect. Students responded with snapping instead of clapping during the protest—keeping the volume of the event very low. Later on, during a question and answer section one student asked one of those questions you wish a senator or a reporter might ask.

Student: So, You’re a billionaire with lots and lots of investments, and the so-called “school choice” movement is a way to open the floodgates for corporate interests to make money off the backs of students. How much do you expect your net worth to increase as a result of your policy choices and what are your friends on Wall Street and in the business world—like the Koch brothers—saying about the potential to get rich off the backs of students?

DeVos was pushed through the nomination process even though she was so clearly unqualified to even write a book report let alone run our country’s Department of Education. Please watch the whole clip. It is really very powerful and is definitely a type of protesting that could be very effective at times, forcing the subject of the protest to grin and bear it.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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