Nicole Zelniker, World & Nation Editor
November 12, 2015
The people gathered outside Founders Hall were largely silent, holding banners with phrases like “my black life matters” and “we stand with Mizzou.”
After the patio filled with students, staff, faculty and administration, first-year Terry Daniels led the community in a chant: “We can’t stop the revolution.”
On Nov. 12, students organized a walk-out for support of the University of Missouri and to make demands of Guilford’s administration.
Some of the demands included increasing diversity in staff and faculty, annual reports and open forums with public safety, accountability for campus life in terms of judicial processes, more effort to treat black student athletes as not just bodies to fill the football field and for Guilford community members to acknowledge their racism, covert or passive.
Soon after junior Najha Zigbi-Johnson shared the demands, junior Olivia Chalkley encouraged students of color to speak.
“We now invite students of color (to share) their stories of mistreatment and harm on Guilford’s campus as a speakout,” said Chalkley during the walk-out.
Junior Brandee Craig spoke up first about a video that was released by the Guilford marketing department.
The video, which came out after Black Lives Matter week, featured two white students and a black community member. No students of color or student organizers were featured in the video.
“When I think about the video the other day I feel isolated,” said Craig at the walk-out. “I feel silenced.”
“I’m not sure if this institution supports me for who I am.”
Craig co-organized the events of Black Lives Matter week with senior Teresa Bedzigui, who expressed to the crowd why she felt the Guilford administration missed the point of the week.
“We wanted to have conversations about black bodies on campus, and we wanted to have conversations about how Guilford is a racist institution,” said Bedzigui.
“When the video came out, I watched it about ten times. Each time, I kept wanting to pretend this was a f—–g joke, and that Guilford did not whitewash the hell out of it.”
Students also spoke to their everyday experiences on campus, such as dealing with being the only student of color in a class.
“We talk about slavery,” said senior Jennifer Thomas during the walk-out. “We talk about my history, and being the only black person in that class having to defend myself every single class, that’s hard.”
“Let me just say how hard it is for a black woman to learn how to love herself … in a society that tells her not to.”
After several students and community members spoke out, the walk-out closed with a chant, led by Greensboro community member Holden Cession. Many of the organizers emphasized that, while talking is a good first step, they hope it will lead to more action.