Everyone on Grounds should come to Garrett Hall Bus Stop tonight

What has happened at Mizzou matters here

Tonight, at 9pm at the Garrett Hall Bus Stop, UVA students will be showing solidarity with Yale, Ithaca, Howard, Mizzou and all the other campuses standing up against racism and injustice.

We all hope the events seen at Mizzou over the past few weeks will never happen here on Grounds, but it’s safe to say that the possibility still exists that they could.

This past year we followed the story of Martese Johnson. The shock that flooded Grounds was significant, as no one expected something like this could happen at UVA. News flash: it can, and it did.

“I want to push back against the notion that we have to wait for racists to ‘die out,'” says Bryanna Miller, the Vice President of the Black Student Alliance, “look at the Charleston Massacre, look at the threats at Mizzou.

“We as allies and students of color, have to actively work together against racism, sexism, homophobia, and all other forms of intolerance.”

She’s right.

If you’ve been on Facebook within the last 24 hours, you’ve probably seen the following status posted by many Wahoos.

Mizzou

When I decided to write about Mizzou last week, I thought that I’d be addressing the Thomas Jefferson statue that students at Mizzou protested to take down seeing that Jefferson was a slave owner.

But it has turned out to be so much more than that.

Reports are popping up from Yale, Ithaca, and even Cornell highlighting racial tensions on campuses (you can read coverage from other Tab reporters here).

Clearly, this problem is not solely restricted to the South. Racism respects no geographic boundary.

Just yesterday, Ithaca students initiated a “walkout Wednesday” to protest current President Tom Rochon, demanding his resignation. They claim that he has not adequately handled the situation on campus in terms of racial inequities and other racial incidents.

Yena Seo, the Vice-President of Campus Affairs for SGA at Ithaca College told The Tab: “Tension has been building on this [Ithaca’s] campus for a long time. Students have been voicing their concerns and issues regarding racism for months and even years at IC, but with the two racially-charge distances that happened in October, it gave many students the change to come together as a unified voice.”

She goes on to talk about how “the feeling on campus here is tumultuous and even volatile at times – you can’t go anywhere on campus anymore without talking or hearing about what’s been happening. It’s an issue that’s at the forefront of everyone’s mind, regardless of their personal opinion.”

Many of us reading this attend institutions who were developed by predominantly Anglo-Saxon men. But the thing is, these institutions are one hundred, two hundred, three hundred years old – and times have changed. So why hasn’t the stigmas associated with race?

First and foremost, it’s disconcerting at the least to have these continuous events. In fact, it’s downright despicable that this still continues to protrude as an issue within our society. It doesn’t just make me upset, it makes me downright sad that people of color are discriminated against because they have a different skin pigmentation.

Where is the justice in this context? Just because someone has a different skin color does not mean they deserve to be treated as a lower class citizen – an idea that should have been eradicated years ago.

And though I really appreciate the argument of how we’re all human beings and how people who are colored are much more than just people of color, it completely overlooks the argument of why black students are being discriminated against in the first place. It’s important to realize that these are truly not isolated events, and are linked by one common fact: racial disparity.

Here at The University of Virginia, we attend an institution that was founded on self governance. We are lucky enough to be in the presence of a student body that have open mindsets and open hearts.

The thing is, Mr. Jefferson’s undiverse grounds has a black population of 6.1%. Confederate flags are still occasionally flown.

Bryanna Miller weighed in further: “I think that the issues that students are facing in the University Context are the same that people of color are facing in the nation. White supremacy, and general intolerance exist in America.

“For some reason, the prevailing narrative is that colleges are supposed to be ‘safe’ spaces but we must always remember that we do not exist in a bubble. People of color are not safe in a lot of places and in a lot of ways.

“Still, I believe that if college students are able to organize and make changes at their institutions, then that demonstrates the power that we as people have to change structures within the larger society.”

It’s important to realize that these problems will not be fixed until we acknowledge them and initiate the effort ourselves. See you at nine.

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