When a string of racist actions, starting on March 26, overtook campus, the student body responded. Though an individual has been named responsible for the graffiti in Mitchell towers and now faces pending consequences, other racist actions occurred outside of this incident alone.
I am proud of the student activists on campus who have done something to change the atmosphere of Albion College’s campus after recent acts of cowardly racism. I admire their planning. I admire their organization. I admire their braveness and their loudness.
Being a revolutionary activist is not something that you wake up and can do perfectly. It’s something you have to commit to everyday. Part of that commitment is planning and staying consistent.
Planning demonstrations are acts of bravery and radical performance, but when they aren’t met with long-term plans, that ensures that the original purpose of the demonstration can be forgotten. Demonstrations without further action can easily be turned into being viewed as only performances, something to watch when you are bored, if no plan of long term action succeeds them.
Albion, along with other places all over the world, have a history of walks with passionate speeches calling for change.
Almost exactly two years ago, on April 11, 2019, students gathered around The Rock to voice concerns after a box was found next to a first-year dorm room with “KKK” written on it and a spray-painted Asian Awareness Group (AAG) sweatshirt was found in the Umbrella House. Black Student Alliance (BSA) teamed up with AAG, the Umbrella organizations and Albion Greek life to put on a unity demonstration.
The demonstration was remarkably similar to the demonstrations this past week, yet we still find ourselves in the position of responding to racist actions around campus, just as we did back in 2019.
At both points in history, students had demands toward the college. They had force behind their concerns. They got things done, meaning in the moment their demands were met. I almost couldn’t think to ask for more than that.
Except, I can–I can ask for long term planning by students that can be carried on for generations.
Something needs to change in order to make sure we don’t find ourselves in this position again. There has to be a plan in place afterwards to ensure the safety of minority students on campus from all bigotry. This cannot be another example of a demonstration that is not met with subsequent long-term action.
How are we going to organize to keep our students safe in our own way? We as students do not have to stand by and wait for another demonstration to jump on problematic topics. There are students on campus who still feel a passion and a motivation beyond the moment. These students walk away from each other after demonstrations, after the administration says everything is okay, and are missing out on imperative opportunities to do mass organization and continue the conversation.
We can no longer demand in the moment, in the wake of what has happened. We have to organize to prevent it. We have to team up with the right people after demonstrations. We have to be consistent. We cannot reach a point and wait until the next protest.