Amid reports of campus violence and discrimination, students and faculty at the University of Rhode Island gathered in the Student Union yesterday to address “embraced immediate human concerns and building an issues-based movement instead of an anti-Trump message.”
The event drew hundreds of students, and people spoke peacefully for nearly three hours.
“We stand for black lives, Muslim lives, queer lives,” said a student. “We denounce bigotry and hate. We demand our university take action.”
URI released this statement, saying it “remains committed to our core values of diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice. In the aftermath of the election, we reiterate that there is no place in our community for any form of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation.”
The open letter from the university said the day after the election, some students “engaged in violent acts of hate and intimidation targeting historically marginalized groups and individuals. We must be clear — acts of hate are not acceptable in our community.”
The event, conversely, remained positive.
“We are all here today because we are committed to equality, diversity and inclusion,” said a student. “Do not hate the people who hate you,” said another. “I would like to go around [this room] and look everyone in the eye and tell them how much I love them.”
The event also served as a call to action.
“The fear of something going wrong will never make something right,” said a student. Another said, “Many activists have been born out of this moment. I, for one, am one of them.”
Many were also scared for the future of the United States.
“I’m afraid because I’m brown,” said a student. Another said, “As a member of the queer community, I am worried,” said another.
URI journalism professor John Pantalone said he is afraid for the future of a free press. “The media has a long history of reporting on activist movements,” he said, “but there is a danger currently that journalism, or the the media, I should say, as it it currently constituted – the mainstream media – might not report on activism so much.”
Here are all the videos of all speakers, in order: