So they did something about it.
Led by sophomore Melissa Deorsola, a Latina whose family is from Brazil, a group of half a dozen students did a 90-second public service announcement asking President Trump to apologize to minorities he offended during his presidential campaign.
The cleverly crafted and edited spot is interspersed with video clips of Trump from his controversial campaign. It includes comments from students representing different minorities at Point Loma High.
Pointing out she took a “mental health day” after the Nov. 8 election, Deorsola said she was inspired by a previous PSA done by Palmiotto's students decrying SeaWorld orca shows. The popular marine park, responding to public pressure, has since abandoned orca shows in favor of exhibiting the marine mammals in a more educational format.
“I thought it (video) would be really big for us,” Deorsola said. “Hopefully, it will get more people to realize kids are actually paying attention to the news, listening and getting involved. I wanted to get that out.”
Palmiotto said students doing PSAs is nothing new in his classes.
“Last year, we had a kid in my class from Chicago who made a video about putting guns down,” he said, noting, “I'm not saying activism is what the class is about. But we do make public service announcements.”
The cinema instructor praised the Deorsola-directed spot.
“Her video is as good as anything Hillary or Trump's camp put out,” he said.
Palmiotto added he would also have no problem with a student doing a pro-Trump PSA.
“I would say OK as long as it was professionally done,” he said.
Other cinema students participating in the video calling out Trump spoke their minds about why they got involved in the video project.
“Melissa contacted me and expressed her vision, and I thought it was a great idea,” said senior Brandon Rodriguez. “It was a way to express my voice as an active citizen of America … we wanted to do it in a peaceful manner. I wanted to participate, not for rebellion, but as a means of getting my voice heard.”
Thristian Wilson, a senior who is a full-blooded Native American from the Navajo nation in Arizona, said he wanted to use the opportunity Deorsola's video offered “to speak out for my indigenous people.
“There's still a problem with Native Americans being stereotyped,” Wilson said, adding indigenous people continue to suffer disproportionately from “drugs, gangs, violence and suicidal depression,” along with homelessness and substandard housing conditions.
“We're still getting stereotyped every day,” Wilson said. “Nobody seems to see that.”
Davon Lacy, a senior who is African-American, said he participated in the Trump video because, “I needed to voice my opinion. This was my chance to really speak out. Everybody needs to look at it (video) and understand where we're coming from.”
Asked what upset her about President Trump's comments, Deorsola said, “A lot of his stances are often used to create fear in people.”
Citing one example, Deorsola noted, “He wants to have all Muslims register. That only leads to more segregation, and it's really taking a step back. I just think a lot of his policies are used to separate people that are different than him, that he doesn't understand. That is not what America stands for.”
Deorsola added she tried to get a Muslim student to participate in her PSA, but they respectfully declined out of fear of potential reprisals.
Want to watch?
The Point Loma High PSA may be viewed on YouTube at youtu.be/98RtaSn2_pE