Chicago joined the national call to action in solidarity with victims of racism at University of Missouri this past Saturday, November 15th. A rally was held outside the James R. Thompson Center, organized by Chicago’s Black Youth Project 100 and attended by roughly 120 supporters. Speeches and spoken word were shared by activists and students expressing the widespread issue of racist incidents on college campuses that are inadequately addressed by school administrations. Organizations endorsing the event included Loyola Black Voices, Young Chicago Authors, the Depaul University chapter of Amnesty International, DePaul Men of Vision and Empowerment, and the Loyola chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, among others.
“We, twenty-six SJP university chapters across the midwest, stand in support of those who are struggling against racism and discrimination on any college campus. We will not stay silent while our fellow Black students are continually targeted, harassed and silenced for fighting for their right to live peacefully on their college campuses,” said Nashiha Alam, an organizer and leader of Loyola’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine. “We call for decisive action from the university to ensure the safety of all Black students and to hold accountable those threatening their safety through racist and malicious threats.”
The national call to action was disseminated when thirty of University of Missouri’s football players stated that they refused to participate in sporting events in order to spread awareness of the administration’s lack of concern and action in response to racists incidents on their campus. Jonathan Butler, also a student at the University of Missouri, staged a hunger strike forcing president Tim Wolfe to step down from his position. The demonstration also held the purpose of showing solidarity with students at Yale University after recent events of censorship and suppression of free speech. Students at Yale have recently expressed concern that instances of microaggression and implicit racism from faculty members and peers have led to a scrutiny of the underlying but widespread racism that plagues institutes of higher education.