In light of the recent demonstrations against racism at Yale and the University of Missouri at Columbia, some students at the University of Miami want to offer their support and show that they stand in solidarity with the students affected.
At noon Friday on The Rock, a silent demonstration will be held with students dressed in all black and linked in arms for 30 minutes, paying homage to what protesters did at Missouri when they protested the university’s then-President Timothy Wolfe.
The organizers of the demonstration stressed that this is not a protest or attack directed at the University of Miami.
“In no way shape or form is this directed at the University of Miami,” said Ivann Anderson, one of the organizers of the event. “We just feel it is necessary to stand in solidarity with the students at Missouri and those nationwide who are supporting this cause.”
In a statement sent out Thursday night, University of Miami President Julio Frenk said that he feels a sense of belonging must be created to celebrate diversity, and share commitment and respect with one another.
“Each of us has a responsibility to confront injustice and discrimination that threaten to divide and diminish us,” Frenk said. “We must examine and overcome our own biases and call out those instances where we encounter bias… This is our University of Miami, and we belong.”
Student Government President Brianna Hathaway and United Black Students President Te’Quan Taylor also penned a letter on the issue Thursday night.
“As numerous other universities have come forward to show support during this time, we would like to join you all in the fight to combat racial and social injustice,” their statement said. “As black students ourselves, we understand the adversity that can be present on the campus of a predominantly white institution.”
Other student organizations have shown their support. UPride-Spectrum, the Council of International Students and Organizations (COISO), Federación de Estudiantes Cubanos and Association of Commuter Students have all been proactive in reaching out to their constituencies and showed support on their social media accounts with #ConcernedStudents1950.
The hashtag trending on social media references the activist group at the University of Missouri that led the fight to end racial hostility at the institution in 1950. To one of the other organizers of the event, Braylond Howard, the event shows the University of Miami’s support to students affected.
“People still care about the issue, no matter where it is and no matter what color you are. There is still racism in a university setting that must be sorted out,” Howard said. “This is for us to come together and show support for others elsewhere that are not in our community. We are conscious of things going on within other places and not just around us. At the end of the day, it doesn’t just matter what goes on in your area. We have to look at the bigger spectrum as that what really needs to be solved.”
Students at UM are empathetic. Boasting one of the most diverse student populations in the United States, UM has numerous cultures to celebrate and learn from. However, students know of, and have experienced, racial attacks and threats on social media.
Last year when a group of UM students led a “Black Lives Matter” rally on the Coral Gables campus, an onslaught of racist remarks were directed towards black students on the anonymous social media app, Yik Yak.
Protests at the University of Missouri were made by members of the school’s football team, who went on strike, and a student who went through a hunger strike – both of whom contributed to the resignation of Wolfe, who was accused of not responding properly to a series of race-related incidents at the school.