There’s a theme that began to play out last November. The hashtags continued on social media and students everywhere began to organize in solidarity with the students of color at Mizzou, Yale, and similar institutions. During most of these solidarity protests students took a look at their own institutions and started to address the racial injustices that they too face on their campuses. Amherst College, located in Western MA in the Pioneer Valley, organized a sit-in in their library. An email was sent out by dean notifying faculty about the sit-in and encouraging faculty to allow students to participate. The sit-in lasted for four days and during those four days a more comprehensive plan was created to take action against the racism that exists on their campus. The group of students became known as Amherst Uprising. The students created a list of immediate demands and long term goals and set a deadline for the demands to be met for the administration of Amherst College. Some of the demands included an apology from the college’s president to students, staff, and faculty of color for the lack of safe space created for them to succeed while at Amherst College, a zero tolerance policy for racial insensitivity and hate speech, and a change of the school’s mascot Lord Jeff, a historical figure whose actions are offensive and racist to students, faculty, and staff. All of this took place in four days. Four days. It’s amazing that students were able to organize a plan of action that was put out to public so quickly, but at the same time they needed to move quickly. Students should not be facing these types of issues especially in an environment where everyone has been given the opportunity to come further their education, but yet not all students are able to thrive at the same level because of these racial injustices.
For more information on the Amherst Uprising here’s a link to the group’s website: http://amherstuprising.com/index.html