This post is part of The Nation’s biweekly student movement dispatch. As part of the StudentNation blog, each dispatch hosts first-person updates on youth organizing. For recent dispatches, check out February 20 and March 5. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with tips. Edited by James Cersonsky (@cersonsky).
Amid extensive racist harassment, including death threats, students from the Kalamazoo College Intercultural Center Movement have declared a state of emergency. On March 7, 100 students, faculty and members of the Grand Rapids Black Lives Matter chapter stormed the college’s Board of Trustees meeting to urge the administration to listen to the voices of students of color who feel #UnsafeAtK. Prior to the action, we held a press conference addressing our experiences with racism on campus and the college’s continual neglect of our concerns, while demanding an intercultural center, administrative transparency, increased hiring and retention of faculty of color, recruitment of local students of color via the Kalamazoo Promise and the incorporation of ethnicity requirements throughout the curriculum.
On March 7, a group of organizations in the Southern Vision Alliance, including the Youth Organizing Institute, Ignite NC and the NC Student Power Union journeyed from Raleigh to Selma for the fiftieth anniversary of “Bloody Sunday,” a landmark moment in civil-rights history. Upwards of 80,000 people gathered to commemorate the moment—and see the movement forward. In Selma, the poverty rate among African-Americans is 48 percent, and the Supreme Court’s decision in the Shelby County case has removed vital protections for voting rights—paralleling nationwide trends in the denial of political power for people of color. In North Carolina, we are bringing the movement home by organizing for equitable schools, an end to the school-to-prison pipeline, voting rights and living wage jobs.