LOVE AND HONOR FOR ALL: MIAMI UNIVERSITY MARCHES AGAINST WHITE SUPREMACY

OXFORD — On January 19, 1998 two Miami University students were assaulted while walking back to their dorm. The attackers shouted racist slurs and comments at them before beating them with baseball bats. One of the student’s injuries were so severe they had to spend several weeks out of school and in the hospital. This is not the only occurrence of racism and intolerance on campus however. Shortly after, on  October 30, 1998 the university’s Center For Black Culture and Learning (CBCL) was defaced with posters and other images of racist, sexist, and anti-semitic messages. The images contained content such as photos of lynchings, racial slurs and KKK propaganda. These events prompted outrage and rallies against this kind of violence and injustice inspiring over 200 students to march the streets and stand up for themselves and their classmates. To this day, nearly 20 years later, the call to action still rings loud across campus and the fire that fueled those marches is still alive.

On August 30, 2017 a recorded 288 students gathered in Central Quad at an event generating 1000 likes on Facebook. The Rally Against White Supremacy, hosted by Clara Guerra and De’vante Malik Montgomery (both students at the university) was not only a response to the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, but was a tangible expression of the rage and intolerance for these injustices on Miami’s campus still alive today. “I think it’s important to show solidarity with the people in charlottesville and it’s important to show our community that we are an inclusive community,” said a faculty member when asked why they attended the event. You may be asking yourself why so many white students felt obligated to participate in the march, but the leaders and participants in the event argue that their part is a crucial one. “White people like me must get off the sidelines and demand that other whites do the same,” said Montgomery over a loudspeaker into the crowd.  “I feel that if we are not out standing here in solidarity with those who are marginalized in this country for any reason, we are not doing our job as citizens,” said Tammy Schwartz, a faculty member at the university.

Many of the groups who spoke were social justice groups affiliated with the University of Cincinnati and Miami University, and a conversation came up about whether Talawanda would benefit from a group like that. “I feel like there would certainly be controversy within the school and between students but I do feel like it would have an impact for the better. Students tend to follow their parents mindset and beliefs so once they see real problems that are currently happening in the U.S today, even though they may not admit that their views have changed, I do feel like they see things a little differently and for the better,” said a Talawanda Senior on the subject. This brings back the importance of events like this, and hopefully by bringing attention to issues we’re facing as a community a seed will be planted and people will start to see that change is crucial.

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Rally attendees beginning their march across town.