The students at the University of Alabama, in Alabama, are taking to the streets again, this time protesting racism and sexism in the campus climate.
They’re using their newfound freedom of speech to demand a fair process, but not just one based on race.
On Monday, students at Alabama’s most prestigious college, known for its historically black campus, staged a protest, calling for a fair election for the state’s first black senator and a “fair” recount of the November presidential election.
The students at UAB took their message of racial justice to the national stage, when they took to the stage at the March for Life rally in Washington, D.C. The event drew over 4,000 people, including students, faculty, and staff.
As the event neared its conclusion, the crowd chanted “Not my president” and “Stop the Trump!” as protesters carried signs that read, “No justice, no peace.”
The protesters said they were also calling for free speech and equal rights for the students.
“It is a historic moment, to be here, to see this kind of action taking place, and it is a time for all of us to show that we are united and that we stand together,” said Dontrell Robinson, a sophomore who was in attendance.
Student leaders say they were inspired by protests around the country and around the world, including the protests at Standing Rock, where activists have camped out for weeks to stop construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
This is what the students are fighting for, and they are fighting in the name of all of our communities, and that includes black students, says Jackie, who asked to use only her first name.
We are fighting because we know that our voices are not heard, she added.
Black students at colleges across the country are taking a stand against racist and sexist policies and policies that are rooted in race, Robinson said.
She said that students have been “shocked” by the number of anti-black protesters who have taken to the campus, including one person who said that she “had to get off campus and run,” after students and staff were harassed by the protesters.
These people are the ones who are hurting us, Robinson added.
The students are protesting against “anti-blackness” in all forms, from the “black face” sticker on the doors of certain restaurants to the racist posters and signs on campus.
In a statement, UAB said it was “taken aback” by students’ use of the word “crisis,” adding that its students “continue to make the university an integral part of our community.”
“We do not condone racism, sexism, and other forms of oppression and we are deeply concerned about our campus environment,” the statement read.
UAB students also said they will be “working to ensure that our campus is safe and secure for all our students and faculty, as well as the wider community.”
In a recent statement, President John Thrasher acknowledged that the protests have created a “distress and fear for some people, particularly for people of color, particularly in the African American community.”
“It’s not just our own students who have been targeted by the protests, but the entire campus community,” he said.
“It’s our faculty, our students, and our staff who have faced an onslaught of intimidation, intimidation, and threats, many of which were directed at their families.”
Thrasher said he hopes the campus community can “rebuild the trust” it has lost.
“Our students, who have fought and fought for our country, are not willing to sit back and allow the very voices that are so central to our lives to be silenced,” he added.