Tuesday morning began like any other, but at 12:05 p.m., hundreds of students walked out of their classes in protest of the hate crimes that occurred in Larned Hall. Students could be heard chanting “No racist police,” “No justice. No peace” and “Black lives matter” from the halls in the Hemenway labs to the Maynard Parking Lot.
An unequivocal success, Tuesday’s student-led walkout showed that we as a campus are protesting against racism and uniting as a community.
It’s proof that we won’t stand idly by as racists work to instill fear and hatred on this campus.
Proof we will take a stand against bigotry.
Proof we will not let the voices of the targeted be silenced.
Over 250 people participated in the walkout. Junior Iyla Driggs, the main organizer of the event, intentionally provided little information on social media. Her intent, she said, was to catch administrators off guard – most students were informed about the walkout via word-of-mouth.
And yet, the crowd size rivaled that of last year’s Hope-in Action’s Unity Walk and Rally, an event that was made known to students both on social media and in many of their classes.
The week’s protest was also entirely student-led and organized in fewer than 24 hours.
Given the spontaneity of the event and the lack of promotion on social media, we at The Gatepost find it reassuring that so many students so quickly and so steadfastly decided to stand in unity with the targets of the hate crimes, condemning racism campus-wide.
Students at the rally modeled the behavior we should be seeing from our administrators. In order to foster a campus where students feel safe and believe their worries and fears are addressed, the administration should be tackling this issue with the same passion students displayed during Tuesday’s protest.
We at The Gatepost are glad to see the administration take these crimes seriously. The increased security in Larned Hall and thorough investigation into the crimes, as well as frequent updates on measures being taken, ease some of students’ fears.
While we understand students are frustrated the perpetrator or perpetrators haven’t been caught, it needs to be understood that a criminal investigation takes time, money and resources.
That being said, understandably, many students fear that in a week or two, when discussions surrounding the hate crimes fade, discussions about our University’s racism problem will fade with them.
This can not happen.
We urge the FSU community to continue to address racism on our campus. Open forums, such as the one hosted on Oct. 16, and teach-ins and events celebrating diversity are essential for educating our campus about cultural inclusion and acceptance.
Driggs called for this type of inclusion herself during Tuesday’s protest. She said, “We are here in peace to say no to violence and racism and to show the power of respectful dialogue.”
It’d be wise if we took her words to heart.