A video recently surfaced depicting three students driving through Francis Marion National Forest making racist comments and joking about slavery and the rest of the College of Charleston student body has had enough.
In fact, many College of Charleston students have had enough of the College’s inadequate responses to such offenses for years. One protester stated, “This is my fifth protest in my three years at the College. I’ve had enough, and I am tired. Capital T, emphasis on the D.”
On March 8th, College of Charleston students of all different ethnicities and all different sexualities came together on the esteemed Cistern Yard to protest this most recent racist offense, and make something clear to the students and staff. Enough is enough.
“I had my choice of protest shirts,” said another. “I’m a senior at the College and this is my ninth protest. This environment of hate and bigotry needs to end.”
“The fact that you are here says that this is an important issue right now,” said a student leader as she gestured towards the mass of people rallying against racism on the Cistern Yard. Most wore black as a symbol of solidarity with their fellow students. This walk out on 12:00 p.m. on Mar. 8 was staged in clear response to the aforementioned video. Student protesters stood on top of the Old Well, speaking into a microphone and holding signs with messages such as “Slavery will never be funny,” “Respect existence or expect resistance,” “Just because you don’t say it to our face doesn’t mean it’s not racist,” and more.
In addition, students recited speeches touching on racism experienced at The College, and history of the administration’s lackluster response to racist behavior. “It’s no use building on sinking sand,” said one rallier referencing the struggle black students already have to face in just their everyday lives.
The Student Government Association President, Tripp Keeffe, gave a speech on the student government’s commitment to making sure all students, regardless of color, realize they matter on campus. “SGA stands in solidarity with you.” he stated.
“Not only is this important today, it will be even more important tomorrow”
The “floor” was then opened up to any student in the audience who wanted to speak about how this video or any other
event at the College affected them personally. The results were astounding.
Numerous students lent their voices for the cause, advocating for change in every breath. “You’re either with us or against us. And if you’re against us, get out of the way.” stated one freshman student to deafening applause.
“Now that sounds like a college I want to come to,” said another after taking the time to read out the College’s core values. These included integrity, respect, diversity, and community. “But is this what we see reflected around us daily?” he asked the crowd. The answer was a resounding “no” from all students present.
“Raise your hand,” requested one senior, “If you are the only black or minority student in your class.” It was impossible to count the sea of hands that rose up before she then asked, “How many of you minority students frequently walk on campus and see somebody that looks like you?” and all the hands went down.
The walk-out ended with unifying chants among the crowd, and a College of Charleston 2010 graduate led a concluding prayer for those who wished to participate. Before many in attendance bowed their heads he gave one final remark.
“We are not pushing back,” he said, regarding the actions of these students and many more like them, “we are pushing forward.”