By Cat Goodyear, Staff Writer
Student activists held a candlelight vigil in honor of the students at the University of Missouri last Monday. The vigil brought together students, administrators and faculty to stand in solidarity with students at the University of Missouri, whose recent protests against racism on their campus have made national headlines.
“The vigil was important to me because I understand that the students of Missouri are going through a tough time right now and it shows just how persistent the threat of racism is,” student Mahamoud Diop said. “It is still an issue in this country today and it’s great to see the student body come out and support the cause.”
Other students present at the vigil shared that same sentiment.
“I think although it is awful that they are experiencing so much racism on their campus it is powerful that they united as a whole and were able to stand up for what they believed in, stand up against the administration, stand up against the racism and come together to fight it,” Katrina Daly said. “I think in life there is a division between races but it is important that we acknowledge that and fight it rather than blindly living a privileged life.”
For some students, the vigil was about supporting the students at Missouri while also addressing racial injustices they’ve encountered in their own lives.
“Being a minority on campus, you are constantly being reminded about race, even in little ways,” Nikia Logan said. “Missouri’s issues is disgusting but also scary because we are not exempt from the treatment that the students are receiving right now. It is very unfortunate that people don’t know how to express themselves in nonviolent and respectful ways.
“Sometimes I would be talking to a professor and they would say something like ‘oh you speak really well,’ as if I’m not supposed to know how to speak. I would receive little micro-aggressions on campus,” she said. “I believe it is the job of both the students and the professors to keep racism out of the classroom. As a professor it is important to be aware and teach students respect and as a student, for us to walk around and see something but not say anything makes an issue too. It is up to us to make a stand and stand up for what you believe in. This is not an isolated responsibility.”
This vigil comes after the campus’s second-ever racial justice teach-in, held in early November, that featured lecturers and faculty presenters on the topics of race and ethnicity.