Race Matters: UCSB Joins in Solidarity with the University of Missouri


Madeleine Lee
Staff Writer

The University of California, Santa Barbara’s Black Student Union joined the nationwide demonstration to show solidarity with the University of Missouri protests this past Wed., Nov. 18 through a two-part photo campaign and community wide dialogue.

The University of Missouri protests, widely referred to by most news sources as the “Mizzou” protests, began in early November after a series of racially charged incidents against black students on campus were met with an allegedly inadequate response from school administration. After days of tent-camp protests, the hunger strike of a graduate student and the pledge of inaction of thirty university football players, University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe finally stepped down. Campuses across the nation celebrated with the students at Mizzou.

The Mizzou protests are just one step in the much larger and ongoing Black Lives Matter movement that has gained momentum worldwide since its conception with the death of Trayvon Martin in 2012, according to the movement’s website.

In celebration of the movement’s legacy, UCSB’s Black Student Union’s photo campaign was held in UCSB’s own place of historical activism; in the section of North Hall that is now adorned with the pictures of the campus-wide 1968 civil rights protests. Members encouraged interested passerby to learn more about the cause while posing with #blacklivesmatter signs that were then shared on social media.

The community-wide dialogue, held later that night in the Biko garage (which is itself a self-proclaimed safe space for all people of color in Isla Vista), had a more somber tone as staff, students and alumni alike from UCSB, Santa Barbara City College and Westmont College came to share their stories regarding both Mizzou and the larger movement for equality.

Of the dozens of people in attendance, one UCSB alum shared his first-hand experience with University of Missouri protesters only days after the removal of the University president.

“The campus was still tense,” the anonymous alum said, “but the environment within the camp of protesters themselves, and the amount of love and support they were getting from all walks of life in the community, was downright inspiring.”

Other topics ranged from personal narratives to the role each individual can play in the success of a revolution. Many capitalized on the importance of dialogue to bring people out of their comfort zones.

“It’s important to put people in the situation of being uncomfortable,” one anonymous Westmont College student said. “People need to be forced to think about things they wouldn’t otherwise consider. It’s one of the most impactful things a movement like this can do.”

Others shared the inspirational stories of black leaders who succeeded despite their struggles. Most were just happy to have a space to let down their guard.

“I needed to be here tonight. I’m lucky that we’re all able to provide a space to have conversations and to feel, to mourn, to be pissed off,” fourth year black studies major and BSU executive board member Sue Abdubrahman said.

The meeting ended with a reflection on commitment and sacrifice as Nia Mitchell, a third year environmental studies major and BSU executive board member, posed the necessary question of personal safety in the face of potential physical threat: “When thinking like this puts my physical body on the line, what does it really mean to be committed to the cause?”

Those in attendance unanimously agreed that commitment at the campus level means being active leaders in the continuation of dialogue beyond Wednesday’s meeting, to honor those that have stood before them and those who still struggle today.To learn more about how you can Buy Real Phentermine Online have a look at this buy Phentermine website to buy Phentermine online

BSU will continue the dialogue in their upcoming Afrikan Black Coalition Conference, held on the UCSB campus in early 2016, that is expected to attract more than 900 attendees.

Mitchell, who is helping to spearhead the conference, hopes to have five of Mizzou’s student protesters in attendance. All in attendance applauded in approval, signing the circling clipboard to pledge to fundraise the students’ visit.

“This is our way of ensuring,” Mitchell said, “that the fight doesn’t end here.”