Students gathered on Lowry Mall Thursday afternoon as part of a Racism Lives Here rally in solidarity with marginalized groups and people of color on campus. The rally highlighted key issues from previous demonstrations and urged administrators to act.
About 20 students stood in front of the Fine Arts building and held signs that read “The movement is multicultural!” “Not your Asian sidekick,” and “Racism lives here in the LGBTQ community.”
The rally began with multiple calls for action for administration to implement changes at MU. Graduate student Danielle Walker said that people of color are “not optional,” and optional solutions will not promote change.
“You’re tired of what? Your job? Then find something else,” Walker said of MU administration.
The rally stressed the unity of people of color on campus, and Walker said that demonstrators stand in solidarity with senior Fatma El-Walid, who had filed a lawsuit against her former professor for offensive remarks. Many students at the rally spoke of the issues that they feel need to be addressed for all cultures.
To show the recent campus climate from a Latino perspective, senior Andrew Abarca read a poem from an Albuquerque slam poetry competition that he found on YouTube. The poem talked about how white students often complain about not having a place on campus to call their own, when the university itself should be the center of all cultures.
Abarca said administration is not handling the situation properly, though MU plans to create a diversity training requirement for all students.
“I’m used to people threatening and saying all these things, but I would love to see the administration start taking action, not creating diversity positions or creating this faux diversity requirement, which really isn’t a requirement at all,” Abarca said.
Abarca claims that the new program will not truly encourage students, but rather they will quickly rush through the assignment in order to register for classes.
“They’re not going to get anything out of it,” Abarca said. “It’s disappointing to see the largest university in Missouri not taking action.”
Concerned Student 1950 reissued a list of six remaining demands to be met by this August.
Junior Daphne Yu, Asian American Association internal vice president and Alpha Phi Gamma Asian-interest sorority vice president, spoke at the rally and said Asian students need to stop being viewed as the “model minority.”
Drawing upon her own experiences, Yu recounted times in high school when classmates would assume she would be able to help them in their math classes, despite her personal struggles with the subject.
“That kind of stereotyping, like we’re perfect students, is really a burden on some students shoulders when they can’t meet that, and they’re afraid to go and ask for help because of the stigma against them,” Yu said.
Yu said she felt the recent discussions of race have mostly focused on “the whole black-white dichotomy” and that Asian Americans are often not represented in discussions and demonstrations. However, Yu said she was proud of the number of Asian American and Pacific Islander students who came to the rally and that their presence was necessary to foster change.
“It’s important for us all to stand in solidarity for the betterment of all minorities on campus,” Yu said.
Demonstrators said they will continue to be vocal until MU is made an accepting home for all.
“For some of us, this is the only home we have, and to feel unwelcome everyday is a burden I wouldn't wish upon my enemies,” Walker said.
"Our pain is real. It may be cold, but we are still angry and we are still tired," said coordinator Danielle Walker @TheManeater— Allyson (@ally_vasil) February 25, 2016