Demonstrators rally for the removal of a Confederate statue, coined Silent Sam, on the campus of the University of Chapel Hill on Aug. 22, 2017 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Sara D. Davis/Getty Images
On August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia, Klu Klux Klan members, White Nationalists, and Neo-Nazis trooped onto the campus of the University of Virginia (UVA) and expressed overt demonstrations of hate towards people of color. The whole nation watched as brave counter-protesters engaged with these hate groups, resulting in three deaths and multiple injured persons. We mourn for the lives lost and injured, and are writing to extend our support not only to this community, but more specifically to our brothers and sisters in the Black Student Alliance on the campus of UVA. These events are happening right in their backyard; this heightens our attention and concern, and moves us to lend our support for them in solidarity of their work. We also advocate for their university’s administration to make their safety a priority as it should be.
Since its inception fifty years ago this November, the Black Student Movement has had a demonstrated dedication to striving for the continued existence of the unity among all its members and to voicing the concerns and grievances of its members to the University. As a Black student organization, we understand the demand and necessity of this work, particularly on the campus of a predominately white institution, and we stand in full solidarity with UVA’s Black Student Alliance. To exist and work as a Black Student organization in the literal face of white supremacy and hatred can take an unimaginable physical, emotional, and mental toll on top of handling the responsibilities of being a full time student. Though we cannot physically be there, we send our full support to the BSA in Charlottesville, and we urge similar organizations on campuses across this nation to do the same.
While hate groups feel emboldened to make their way onto college campuses and spread hate, the Black Student Movement at UNC- Chapel Hill stands against such actions. College campuses should be a welcoming place for students to live without fear, and we will continue to stand against groups who seek to diminish that right and charge university administrations to make the safety of their students an important, immediate discussion. We seek to step up and express our unity so that we can preserve and strengthen our voice even while hate groups attempt to keep us silent.
“Uhuru Ni Upunduzi,” Freedom through Revolution.
Black Student Movement (2017-2018) Political Action Committee