This past week, students, alumni, professors and the general public held protests and showed support for the University of Missouri students. It’s hard to miss the issues and scandals that have been occurring at Mizzou. Mizzou students and faculty have been making headlines for weeks now and even if you don’t watch the news, you have heard about these stories all over social media. But for those who haven’t heard about it, I’ll give you a brief overview. A couple of weeks ago, a University of Missouri student, Jonathan Butler, went on a hunger strike in reaction to a string of racially motivated remarks and incidents. A swastika was painted in feces on a bathroom wall in a dormitory, many students have complained about having racial slurs hurled at them and those are just to name a few. So Butler decided to go on a hunger strike until Tim Wolfe, the President of the University of Missouri system, stepped down. Butler told the Washington Post, “I already feel like campus is an unlivable space. So it’s worth sacrificing something of this grave amount, because I’m already not wanted here. I’m already not treated like I’m a human.” Other students on campus began to take a stand. Many of the black football players took a stand and refused to participate in sports activities until the President stepped down and there were numerous protests held on the school’s campus. Butler and the other protesters finally succeeded last Monday, November 9, 2015, when Tim Wolfe resigned.
President Wolfe’s resignation was just the tip of the iceberg. This past week, students all over the country held protest in support of Mizzou students as well for Howard students who also recently received threats. Moreover, the protests were also for minority students in general who are constantly faced with backlash simply for the color of their skin. Students at my school, Boston University, held our own blackout rally in support. Students from various backgrounds came out in support; one of the student speakers, Yasmin Younis, transferred from the University of Missouri to Boston University. TeAndrea Jackson, the main student speaker, gave a powerful speech that truly captured the essence of what this rally really stood for. She said, “ no more will we apologize for being black! No longer will we apologize for being colored folks! We live here! We matter, no longer will we apologize for standing up against racist and systemic oppression, ENOUGH!” Following the rally, there was a discussion about race, discrimination and college campuses, “Coffees & Convos,” in the Boston University Howard Thurman Center.
Between the rally and the discussion following it, it was clear that students were fed up and ready for a change. Minority students, especially black students, are tired of being treated like they don’t belong on the campuses of the colleges that they were rightfully accepted into. We each earned our place into our respective schools and no one should have to feel like they don’t belong on their own campus. It is disgusting for minorities to be made to think that the only reason they were accepted was because the school needed minorities; nor should anyone feel like their life is being threatened by one of their fellow classmates. The ignorance that is hurled at minority students is deplorable, but what makes it worse is when your own administration won’t stand up for you. Students are supposed to rely on their administration to keep them safe, and when they don’t, who are the students supposed to depend on. The Boston university rally and the numerous blackout rallies on other campuses are just the beginning. Students are tired of being treated like less than, and they are fighting back. This isn’t the last we will hear of this. The race for change has begun and students are fighting for their rights. Minorities have lived under systematic oppression for too long, and it is time that we are treated as equals and not as second-class citizens.