Boston College community members gathered on the O’Neill lawn earlier today, Nov. 12, to stand in solidarity with protestors at the University of Missouri, who are currently confronting covert and overt systemic, institutional racism at their Columbia, Mo. university.
At an event organized in the wake of heightened tension and protests at the University of Missouri, and solidarity demonstrations at other universities, BC students, faculty and staff gathered at 12:15 p.m. to demonstrate the support for students of color faced with prejudice on campus, and the push for the dismantling of institutional racism at BC, and at other universities around the US.
The event, led primarily by Afua Laast, LSOE ’16, saw a large turnout, with many students walking out of their classes and wearing all black clothing in order to demonstrate their support for the cause. First came opening comments by the organizers, followed by a prayer lead by Fr. Michael Davidson, SJ, then students were invited to share their stories of racism at Boston College and their support for the activism occurring at the University of Missouri and nationwide.
In response to numerous incidents of institutional racism, and the administration’s unresponsiveness to such issues, at the Columbia, Mo. university, students and faculty at the University of Missouri have engaged in various protests and demonstrations in order to bring light to the issues of systemic racism on the campus. These events have culminated in the resignations of both the university’s president, Tim Wolfe, and the chancellor of the flagship campus, R. Bowen Loftin.
Among others, Missouri graduate student, Jonathan Butler’s hunger strike gained significant media attention and drew the nation’s attention to the protests in Columbia. Butler staged a hunger strike, which lasted for about a week, demanding the resignation of the university president. His actions, in concert with a group of students calling themselves Concerned Student 1950, named after the first year the University of Missouri allowed the enrollment of black students, helped galvanize Wolfe’s ultimate resignation.
With demonstrations occurring at Yale University and Ithaca College among others, college campuses around the US are standing in solidarity with protestors at the University of Missouri. Boston College’s Solidarity Black Out comes in the midst of a nationwide movement.