By Brie Bristol
A usual day around one in the afternoon at the University of Massachusetts Amherst consists of students in class, eating in the dining halls, studying at the library, or working out at the recreation center. On Thursday Dec. 6, it was different than the norm. About 200 people marched together to “denounce the acts of hate and cowardice plaguing our campus in recent months”, such as written threats and racial profiling.
In the past three months, UMass Amherst has experienced various racist incidents. A Whitmore employee had campus police called on him, the Melville residence hall had three racially targeted issues in a row and white supremacy flyers were found around campus. While this is not the first time these incidents have happened on the campus, their frequency over the fall semester has made it a deep concern for the UMass community.
Graduate students from the UMass Graduate Employee Organization and undergraduate students gathered to show their disapproval of all the issues that UMass has faced. They organized a “March Against Racism & White Supremacy” that went from the Student Union, past Sunset Avenue, and up to the steps of the Whitmore administration building. The students came with vandalized “Building a Community of Dignity & Respect” signs of UMass and organizers came with bull horns and a list of demands.
Before marching around, march organizers such as Cassandra and Julie hyped up the crowd about the cause. Julie discussed that the day’s action reminds the community that the fight against hate will continue for an entire lifetime by shouting “We’re not one person, we’re a community… the struggle will continue for an entire lifetime”.
As the crowd marched across campus pictures were taken, signs were held up, and chants were spoken emphasizing community and rejecting hate. These chants rang throughout the campus, echoing “We are unstoppable, another world is possible,” and “Show me what community looks like, this is what community looks like” from classroom to classroom. The protestors concluded the march at Whitmore, where organizers placed their list of demands and signs underneath Chancellor Subbaswamy’s door.
The protesters were marching for a legacy on a cold afternoon, honoring those affected by white supremacy.