On Thursday, Talladega College President Billy C. Hawkins announced that the school had ultimately decided to send its band to march at the inauguration of Donald Trump in just over two weeks.
The decision comes amid heated controversy, as many performers and artists have refused to perform at the inauguration because they feel it would be seen as a show of support for the president-elect. However, Hawkins said that the “lessons students can learn from this experience cannot be taught in a classroom,” adding that the experience could benefit the members of the small school’s band.
“We respect and appreciate how our students and alumni feel about our participation in this parade,” said Hawkins. “As many of those who chose to participate in the parade have said, we feel the inauguration of a new president is not a political event but a civil ceremony celebrating the transfer of power.”
But not everyone agrees with the decision, with several students speaking against it.
“I think with Donald Trump being the type person he is, the band shouldn’t go,” Ike Chukwuelue said Wednesday, adding, “Marching in that parade would basically be siding with Trump and his ideals and the way he chooses to go about politics.”
“We have a reputation of fighting for freedom and equal rights and justice and he doesn’t stand for any of that,” said Shirley Ferrill.