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Black Lives Matter protest sparks conversation about on-campus racism

The Black Lives Matter rally held Wednesday has sparked an online conversation about racial issues on campus, involving the University of Miami’s Black student population, opponents of the protestors and even President Donna E. Shalala.

The demonstration included a ‘die-in,’ in which students dropped to the ground in unison to represent lives lost to police brutality, and a march around campus in protest of the grand jury decision not to charge Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting of Michael Brown.

SEE ALSO: Dramatic ‘Black Lives Matter’ demonstration gives voice to voiceless

During and after the event, racist comments were posted on the anonymous social media app Yik Yak and other online outlets. (See screenshots attached in the embedded Tweets below.)

Shalala sent a university-wide Dialogue email Friday in response to comments like these, saying that “all members of the community have the right to respond and share their thoughts and beliefs.”

“Respectful dialogue, even between opposing sides of the same issue, remains an expectation at the University of Miami,” Shalala added.

President Shalala's Dialogue email sent Friday.

President Shalala’s Dialogue email sent Friday.

Junior Rhyssa Beckford, who was a participant in the Black Lives Matter event, originally reached out to Vice President for Student Affairs Patricia Whitely about the issue Thursday, hoping for a university-wide email to be sent out that would discourage this behavior. 

President Shalala then responded to Beckford with her own email, expressing her support of the demonstration and “outrage” at the detractors. (Whitely was out of town.) Beckford posted a screenshot of Shalala’s email on Facebook.

Shalala's response. // Screenshot courtesy Beckford

Shalala’s response. // Screenshot courtesy Beckford via Facebook

Soon after the Dialogue email was sent Friday, Beckford expressed her dissatisfaction with the administration’s response on Facebook.

Rhyssa Beckford's response. // Screenshot courtesy Beckford via Facebook

Rhyssa Beckford’s Facebook post. // Screenshot courtesy Beckford via Facebook

Beckford also wrote that the email was “sugar coated” and “didn’t truly address intolerance” in a Facebook message to The Miami Hurricane.

Some students also posted anonymous reactions to the UMiami Secrets Facebook page, arguing that the protest was an ineffective way to go about asking for change and that “lives matter as a whole, not just black lives.” This also led to discussion online. The comments can be seen in the embedded posts.

While the topic has angered many, sophomore Andrea Vorlicek urged her peers on Facebook not to let the opinions of a few taint their perspectives of the whole.

Vorlicek, who also participated in the march, wrote that the Black population at UM should not focus on the comments on Yik Yak and other social media outlets. Instead, she hopes that her peers work to educate others who are not aware of the prejudices that exist, in order to create a better on-campus environment.


Vorlicek’s Facebook post. // Screenshot courtesy Vorlicek via Facebook


Featured image courtesy The All-Nite Images via Flickr.

December 5, 2014


Lyssa Goldberg

Lyssa Goldberg is online editor of The Miami Hurricane. She is a senior majoring in journalism and political science with a minor in math. She has interned at Mashable and the Miami New Times, and her work has also been featured in The Huffington Post.

5 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Black Lives Matter protest sparks conversation about on-campus racism”

  1. MARK TRAINA says:

    The NAAWP exposes the real MICHAEL BROWN!

    The MICHAEL BROWN the LILY WHITE LYIN LIBERALS at CNN, MSNBC, HLN, NBC, ABC and CBS ain’t telling U.S. about!



  2. Arafat says:

    The creation of a false meme right before our eyes!
    The August 9, 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO by Officer Darren Wilson was the origin of a national myth. Myths are sacred stories that serve to explain the world view of a people. They often originate as distorted accounts of real historical events that storytellers repeatedly elaborate on until the primary figure in the account achieves the status of a saint or a god. A culture’s myths provide a sense of identity, shared lifestyle, affirm beliefs and values and are expressed in symbols and rituals. A national myth is a fictional narrative that omits important historical details, or adds details where there is no evidence, but is held as true due to its symbolic meaning for the nation. Michael Brown has become the symbol of racism, police brutality and social injustice. Evidence is irrelevant because myths are symbolic not literal truths.
    Disregarding forensic evidence and a grand jury decision is necessary and required to perpetuate the national myth of institutionalized racism, oppression and inequality. The mythology functions as a method to demonize police, inculcate fear, justify violence, promote vengeance and achieve political agendas. The death of Michael Brown has been formatted and packaged by the mainstream media that serve as an outlet for state-sponsored propaganda. Correspondents use selective and biased reporting to propagate the national mythology. However, protest signs, graffiti, hand signs, flags, masks and other symbols in Ferguson reveal a different alternative narrative.

  3. MARK TRAINA says:


    STOP listening to the REAL racists =WHITE LIBERALS and their lies. black folk dont
    need to fear police or white neighborhoods. the most dangerous place for a
    black man IS in a black hood and other black men. when you can admit the
    problem then you can get to a solution. a solution that white Dems and white
    hypocrite slave master libs dont want you to ! as this is how they keep black
    communities in shambles and DEPENDENT on them they DO NOT care as after they
    show their FAKE support they go right back to their ALL WHITE neighborhoods !!
    P.S. the giant list below is just Chicago,it would be a mile longer if we threw
    in Detroit,L.A., St Louis, N.Y. and ya’ll think cops are the enemy? September
    2014 and October 2014

    Rayvon Little, twenty years old. Chicago. Dead.

    Andre Johnson, Jr., black, 29 years old, Chicago, dead.

    Andrew Brown, 46, South Shore, Chicago, dead.

    Doug Chambliss, black, 33, Chicago, dead.

    Darrell Tolbert, 36, black, shot to death.

    Gregory McKinney, black, shot to death.

    Joseph Lewis, Chicago, black, shot to death.

    Deon Gilbert, Jr., black, South Deering, Chicago, shot to death. By the way, he
    was 15.

    Donnell Coakley, black, assault. Donnell was three.

    Kyle Robertson, 23, black, Chicago, shot to death.

    Lydell Lynch, black, 22, Grand Crossing, Chicago, shot to death.

    Johnathan Cartwright, black, 18, shot to death.

    Aaron Stalling, black, near west side Chicago, shot to death.

    Remember, black lives matter.

    Anthony Jackson, 22, Chicago, black, shot to death.

    Zoraida Feliciano, black, Humbolt Park, Chicago, 33, shot to death.

    Da’Lon Mobley, black, West Chicago, 30, shot to death.

    Kendall Warren, black, 24, Chicago, shot to death.

    Nacurvie Smith, 27 years old, Old Town Chicago, black, shot to death.

    Larry Thomas, 31, Englewood, Chicago, black shot to death.

    Robert Leverett, black, Englewood, Chicago, shot to death.

    Derick Coopwood, black, 21, shot to death.

    Krystal Jackson, 25, black, shot to death.

    Tyris Ferguson, black, 23, shot to death.

    David Kennedy, 24, Chicago Hyde Park, black, shot to death.

    Jeffrey Daniels, black, 24, shot to death.

    Ladarius Edwards, 23, black, Chicago, shot to death.

    Jahakel Clark, 16, black, Marquette Park, Chicago, shot to death.

    Nigell Vazquez. Twenty-two, black, Chicago. Shot to death.

    Edward Davis, 23, black, Chicago, shot to death.

    Martell Robinson, 20, shot to death.

    Shaquille Holmes, 19
    years old, black shot to death.

    Decari Spivey, black, shot to death at 21.

    54-year-old. He made it to 54. Malcolm Warnsby, 54.

    Terry cook, 32 black shot to death.

    Michael Wright, black 21, shot to death.

    Michael Bloodson, 17, black, Chicago, shot to death. Continued September 2014
    and October 2014 and November 2014

    Charles Labon, 28, black shot to death.

    Tamica Riley, 37, black. Suffocation.

    Christopher McGee, black, shot to death.

    Kawantis Montgomery 19, black shot to death.

    Devonshay Lofton, 17, black shot to death.

    Kamaal Burton. 18, black, shot to death.

    Dimitre Beck, 21, black stabbed to death.

    Leon Austin, black stabbed to death.

    Markise M. Darling, 19, shot to death.

    Cortez river, black 16, shot to death.

    Davontae Harrison, 21. Black shot to death.

    Mondele Heard. 20 shot to death.

    Arthur Hearn, 88, died from assault. Chicago.

    Deandre Ellis black shot to death.

    Malachi Baldwin, 27, black shot to death.

    Leroyce Noel, 20 shot to death.

    Stanley Macon Jr., 25, shot to death.

    Camerion Blair, 16, shot to death.

    Shandel Adams, 25, black shot to death.

    Demureya Macon, 13, Chicago, shot to death.

    James Watson, 61 years old, black, shot.

    Raymond Murray, 25, black, shot, South Shore, Chicago.

    Devin Pope, age 23, race: black, South Shore of Chicago. August.

    Tony MacIntosh, 20, black, shot, Chicago.

    Denero Appleton, thirty-one, black shot, South Deering, Chicago.

    Donald Williams, seventeen, black, shot, Austin neighborhood of Chicago.

    Hezekiah Harper-Bey, 20, black, shot, West Garfield Park, Chicago.

    Brian Davis, age 33, black, shooting, West Garfield Park, Chicago.

    Jerome Harris, 17 years, black, shot, Morgan Park, Chicago.

    Unknown 21-year-old, black, shot, Gage Park, Chicago.

    Erik Kall, 27, black, shot, Chicago lawn.

    Darrien Jordan, 21 years old, black, shot. North Lawndale, Chicago.

    Lafayette Walton, 16 years old, West Humboldt, Chicago.

    Dakari Pargo, 19 years old, shot, West Englewood.

    Martrell Ross, thirty-two years old, black, shot, River North.

    Gabriel Stevens, 39 years old, black, shot, Auburn Gresham.

    Torrente G. Pickens, black, 37, shot, Chicago.

    Ronald Holliman, 18 years old, black, shot, South Austin, Chicago.

    Derrick Bowens, 27 years old, black, shot, Englewood, Chicago.

    Jackie Roberson. 22. Black. Shot. Chicago.

    Billy Washington. 37. Black, shot, Chicago.

    Larry Lee, 52, black, shot, Chicago.

    Damani Chenier, 23, black, stabbed to death, Chicago.

    Raddy Comer, 20, black, shot, Chicago.

    Eddie Taylor, 22, black, shot, Chicago.

    Vincente Obregon, twenty-one years, black, shot, Marquette Park.

    Darryl Allison, twenty-six, black, shot, Chicago.

    Kashif Tillis, 29, black, shot, Chicago.

    Alante Vallejo, 18 years old, black, shot, Rogers Park, Chicago.

    Carnesha Fort, 22 years old, black, Chicago.

    Brian Weekly, 18 years old, black, shot, Washington Park, Chicago.

    Kennyone Pendleton, black, shot, Chicago.

    Jimero Starling, 19 years old, shot, Humboldt.

    ShAmbreyh Barfield, 21 years old, black, shot, West Garfield Park.

    Jeremiah Shaw, 19, black, shot, Chicago.

    Jabari Scurlock, 16 years, black, shot, Chicago.

    Arnold Dearies is 26. Black, shot, Chicago.

    Alexander Smith, 25, black, shot, Chicago.

    Rodney Wilson, 30, black, stabbed to death, Chicago.

    Genorel Martin, black, shot to death, Chicago.

    Travis Wright, 21, black, shot, Chicago.

    Laquisha Hickman, 35, black, shot, Ashburn, Chicago.

    Nykole Loving, 23 years old, black, Ashburn, Chicago.

    Paris Brown, 21, black, shot, Grand Crossing, Chicago.

    Devonte Carthan, 17 years old, black, shot, Chicago. More Continued September,
    October and November 2014

    Julio Perkins, 30 years old, black, shot, Chicago.

    LaDarryl Walters, 23 years old, black, shot, Chicago.

    Reginald Boston, forty-four, black, stabbed to death.

    Stanley Bobo, 18, shot, Chicago.

    Tepete Davis, black, 42, shot to death, Chicago.

    Charles Wright, 39, shot to death, black, back of the yards, Chicago.

    Denzell Franklin, 23, black, shot to death, Chicago.

    Corey Hudson, 34 years old, black shot, West Englewood.

    Robert Cotton, 35 years old, black, shot, West Englewood.

    Brett Ewing, 26 years old, shooting, black.

    Damian Williams, 22 years old, black, died of a shooting in Austin, part of

    Dewey Knox, 27, black, shot to death, Chicago.

    Brandon Peterson, 17, died of shooting, black, East Garfield Park, Chicago.

    David Morgan, 36, black, part of Chicago, shot to death.

    Marc Williams, 17, black, shot to death, South Chicago.

    Bobby Moore, 25, black, South Chicago.

    Darryl Owens Jr., black, 34, shot to death, Chatham.

    Walter Neely, shot, 25 years old, black, Chicago.

    Shaquise Butler, 16 years old, black, shot, Chicago.

    Amy Holmes-Sterling, 29 years old, black, shot, Chicago.

    Karveon Glover, 16 years old, black, shot, Chicago.

    Louis Winn, age 22, black, died of a stabbing in Washington Heights, Chicago.

    Daniel Jones, 26 years old, black, shot, West Garfield Park, Chicago.

    Damarcus Boswell, 18, black, Marquette Park, Chicago.

    Shaquille Ross, 18 years old, black, shot, West Englewood, Chicago.

    Donald Ray, 21 years old, black, shot, South Austin, Chicago.

    Kezon Lamb, 20 years old, Chicago, shot.

    Oduro Yeboah, 22, black, shot, Uptown.

    Owen Spears, 22, black, Humboldt Park, Chicago, shot to death.

    Pierre Peters, 41, black, shot to death, South Austin, Chicago.

    Joel Wade, black, 20 years old, shot, Chicago.

    Seadl Commings, 27 years old, black, shot, Chicago.

    Dorval Jenkins, 19 years old, black, shot, Chicago.

    15-year-old Dekarlos Scott, black, Rosslyn Park, Chicago.

    Data provided by: Raul Chavez



  4. Vanessa says:

    It looked like all the students had to take a detour in order to get to where they needed to go. I’m glad we have a university where a detour was available AND students are able to express their concern over a national American racial issue.
    And the point of the demonstration was to get attention.
    If you want to express outrage, maybe redirect your expressions to the situation which would lead to protests, not about American citizens right to protest.

  5. It's not Black and White says:

    When your “die in” in which you lay lifeless on the ground in a central walkway of campus causes a disabled student in an electric wheelchair to be unable to pass through and you show absolutely no regard, forcing him to take a detour of approximately 200 feet out of his way, your protest is not peaceful. It is, at that point, ethnocentric, disruptive, and unproductive.

    Re-evalaute your tactics if you’re going to try and play the victim.

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