The Miami University March Against White Supremacy
Currently

When Miami University Marched Against White Supremacy

"It happens everywhere. Even in little old Oxford." — Margarette Beckwith

82
Anna Hernandez-Buces

I wasn't sure what to expect that night. I had been added to a group chat over the summer, and I didn't entirely understand why. I'm young and inexperienced, what could I possibly bring to a political protest? I avoided the chat once school started, thinking maybe I'd stop by, but the chat seemed chaotic, and I was sure the rally would end up the same. I was, however, pleasantly surprised.

The events of Wednesday night, August 28, served many roles. It was a march of solidarity, a sign of community, support of human rights, an opportunity to grieve. The march, rightly labeled the "Action Against White Supremacy Rally," was conceived after the shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, earlier this summer, which altogether left at least 31 people dead. It was formed by members of UNIDOS, College Democrats, Black Women Empowered, and Spectrum. As a response to the racist violence in El Paso, it was strangely ironic and almost insulting that on the same day of the rally, white nationalist flyers were taped to lampposts around campus.

Wednesday night at around 9:30 p.m., nearly 200 people surrounded the Phi Delt gates near Uptown. Students ranging from freshmen to graduate students were present, as well as faculty and Oxford natives. Many held signs with compassionate words plastered on them like "Civil Rights Are Human Rights" and "Where Is The Love?" One sign had the word peace written in multiple languages.

"This march isn't against ideology," one coordinator said. Despite the events that sparked the rally, it was not political. As one of the original facilitators, senior Clara Guerra, said, "This is a place to grieve."

Anna Hernandez-Buces

While it was a place to grieve for some, everyone had different reasons for showing up late at night with their signs rather than staying home or walking farther to the bars, as so many students are wont to do at 9 o'clock on a Wednesday night.

Sara Palmer, a priest at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church said she was marching to "stand in solidarity for all who are victims... because it's getting worse." We spoke further, and she asked if I was a reporter. I had never considered myself one until then, and I only nodded my head. She also asked if I was Latina and smiled when I told her I was.

"I speak Spanish," she told me. "So I'm marching for Latinos and the LGBTQIA communities."

Another woman, Margarette Beckwith of Oxford, said she was marching to speak out against white supremacy because "it happens everywhere. Even in little old Oxford." There was a large group of older men and women, waiting on benches or standing, proudly carrying their signs. I was surprised to see them. Social media has warped activism into a young adult's job, but it was not only for college-age students on Wednesday night.

Anna Hernandez-Buces

I wandered around the crowd, staring at signs, conversing with people I knew. I had somehow found myself at the front of the pack when I heard a voice. "Comrades, gather round!" it called over the crowd. I knew the boy speaking, though not personally. He had the same habit of referring to everyone as a comrade in the group chat I had joined. I still wasn't sure how I felt about being called a comrade, but I listened anyway.

Senior Adrian Radilla, a co-facilitator of the rally and president of UNIDOS, gave an introduction. "We do these chants to remember where we come from," he told the crowd. "We are in a long lineage of people who stand up to injustice and we continue that tradition tonight."

And so, a little after 9:30, the march from the Phi Delt gates to Roudebush Hall began. The whole way through the crowd chanted. They were forceful, they were powerful. "We marchin' for justice, for our sisters and our brothers," is how they started.

The chants continued up the steps of Roudebush Hall, where various students gave testimonies on how white supremacy has affected their lives.

"I am not able to have a conversation with my grandmother. I am 20 years old," said one student, Victoria Negron, as she told the crowd her parents never taught her Spanish to avoid the ridicule that comes with having an accent.

Another student spoke of his grandparents, Holocaust survivors. "I should not be here, but I am," he told us. Each person who came forward expressed their sorrows and frustrations. Some were hopeful, some were not. Others only asked the crowd to vote. Those two testimonies stuck with me. The boy speaking of his family and his heritage broke my heart. And Negron's story was something I knew firsthand.

I was taught Spanish but there's no use for it outside my home. I can barely last in a half-hour phone call with my mother in Spanish before I get anxious and forget the words. Spanish-speaking immigrants are ridiculed for having an accent, so much so that they won't teach their children their language, or their children will be too scared to use it and forget it. It might not seem like a big deal compared to more obvious effects of white supremacy, but a language is part of an identity. And white supremacy has stripped people of that identity, it has tried to strip me of that identity as well.

Anna Hernandez-Buces

After the testimonies, the crowd made its way to The Seal, where candles were placed on the ground to represent those killed in El Paso and Dayton. Once all our candles were lit, we sang "Amazing Grace" and held a moment of silence. In the silence, we mourned the dead, mourned lost friends, and prayed we'd never have to stand here like this again.

Anna Hernandez-Buces

But more importantly, in that silence, resting our heads on each others' shoulders, with the light of nearly 200 candles burning, we promised to act. The message would not end at The Seal, but continue on. Nearly 200 people made a silent promise to fight, to vote, and to change this country for the better.

Report this Content
Currently

The House Might Pass Another Stimulus Bill And College Students Are STILL Not Getting Checks

Instead of parents receiving only $500 for every dependent in their family, they would receive $1,200 per family member and up to $6,000 per household.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats have drafted up another coronavirus (COVID-19) stimulus bill that would eclipse the first as the largest economic stimulus legislation in U.S. history.

Keep Reading... Show less
Currently

Federal Leadership Is Crucial During A Health Crisis — And Trump Is A Truly Terrible Leader

Without nationwide agreement, it is impossible to make any lasting impactful fight against the virus.

New per-day cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) are finally starting to decrease in New York, but other states across the nation are preparing to reopen. The CDC and Dr. Anthony Fauci say one thing, and Trump says another.

Keep Reading... Show less
Currently

The 9 Americans Doing The Worst Job Of Handling The Coronavirus Pandemic

All of these people are creating an environment where the virus can spread freely and openly.

There have now been nearly 80,000 confirmed deaths from coronavirus (COVID-19) in the United States. That is an incredibly alarming number given the number of global deaths is about 285,000.

While the pandemic has been handled poorly by our president, there are a number of other Americans doing a bad job at handling the pandemic and possibly even spreading it further.

Keep Reading... Show less
Currently

I'm A Proud Michigander, But These Stay-At-Home Protestors Are A National Embarrassment

I take it personally — each protester, each gun, each Confederate flag.

I was born in the Great Lakes State and I intend to die in the Great Lakes State. I live for those drives up M-22 to my friends' lake houses. All I want to do is be on a boat right now. I love everything that Michigan has to offer, and I wouldn't want to spend my days anywhere else (despite the fact that I go to school in Ohio).

That being said, I'm embarrassed.

If you've seen the news, hundreds of gun-toting, Confederate-flag-waving dickheads stormed the Michigan capitol to protest Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's extension of her "Stay Home, Stay Safe" executive order.

Keep Reading... Show less
Currently

The Lake Of The Ozarks Party Is Exactly What Might Give America A Second Wave Of Coronavirus

Parties like this are in direct opposition to the CDC's safety guidelines.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) has killed more than 97,000 Americans to date, and in the midst of this pandemic, states and local governments are reopening essential businesses, local communities, and other places. In Missouri, those openings resulted in a gigantic lake party at the Lake of the Ozarks.

Keep Reading... Show less
Currently

Universal Orlando Is Reopening To The Public On June 5, And It's The Most Florida Thing Ever

The phased approach will allow employees to come back to work on June 1 – 2, on June 3 guests will be invited, and on June 5, the parks will be reopened to the public.

Universal Orlando is planning on doing a "phased reopening" of its theme parks in Florida.

Keep Reading... Show less

While I was growing up in Midland, MI, everyone always talked about how lame it was. There was never anything to do and nothing interesting ever happened.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments