Student organizers hold second rally to demand racial justice

Nellie Vinograd, Video Editor

November 20, 2015

For the second time this month, students gathered outside Founders Hall to make a message clear: racism at Guilford College must be addressed and ended.

After incidents of racism at colleges like the University of Missouri (Mizzou), Guilford students held a walkout and rally Nov. 12 for students of color to express their own accounts of racism on Guilford’s campus. Since then, the topic of racism has been addressed by some faculty, staff and other community members.

In response to the first demonstration, President Jane Fernandes held a discussion session in the library on Nov. 13 for community members to talk with administrators about racism.

Student organizers revised the list of demands read last week and announced the latest version on the afternoon of Nov. 20. The students were clear that more action was needed.

“We demand the creation and implementation of a publicly overseen diversity plan,” said senior Noah McDonald at the rally. “We insist on a shift towards intentional and responsible representation of diversity in marketing, rather than the tokenizing of students of color in marketing material that exists now.

“Guilford is marketed as a safe space for students of color, but that is not the reality.”

Each demand was read aloud by a different student. The entire list of demands will be published later today.

After the demands were read, junior Najha Zigbi-Johnson and local Greensboro organizer Demonte Alford led the crowd in a series of call-and-response chants.

“It is our duty to fight for our freedom,” Zigbi-Johnson said in a chant, quoting activist Assata Shakur. “It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.”

In addition to holding a public speak-out, the organizers created an anonymous reporting form which they passed around social media in the days prior to the second rally. The link is available here.

Student organizers created the hashtag #integrityforguilford, and junior Davia Young encouraged the crowd to use it in conjunction with the hashtag #weareguilford.

“We really have to keep up the momentum so we can actualize the demands on campus that we want to see,” said Zigbi-Johnson at the end of the demonstration. She then lead the crowd in a moment of silence.

“It was really powerful, from what I got,” said sophomore Mara Stewart. “This is the first time Guilford is united, and I wanted to be a part of that history.”

– See more at: http://www.guilfordian.com/news/2015/11/20/student-organizers-hold-second-rally-to-demand-racial-justice/#sthash.jjdmRsJT.dpuf

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