Students protest against Asian hate and negligence within the universities community
Oftentimes, when an organization strives to create a diverse community, they focus on shallow levels of inclusion instead of what true, genuine inclusion actually looks like.
Diversity and inclusion go beyond the smiles that quickly fade, invites that are no longer heard and promises that are quickly broken. Instead, they need to focus on concepts like mutual respect, recognition and acknowledgment when voices are trying to be heard.
On Mar. 26, Evan Hanson, Lily Chang, Megan Schmidt, Allye Doyle and Aesha Williams led the protest against Asian hate, recent hate crimes in Atlanta and the negligence of the NDSU administrations for their support of their students of color.
“Students should be knowledgeable of what is happening on campus and advocating for rights of people even when the case doesn’t directly affect you, it is still important to stand up,” Megan Schmidt, a student in the Departments of Political Science and Criminal Justice and the Cofounder of BIPOC.Fargo said. “There is power in numbers, and the more students standing up for what they believe in, the more likely administration is to listen.”
A variety of students, faculty and residents met up outside the Memorial Union to begin the march around the university. People used markers or chalk to wrote familiar quotes, sayings and phrases that continue to shape the fight for a better future by highlighting the dark past.
“There’s hurt in the community,” Kaden Felch, President of the College Democrats club said. “You see it, you hear it and people should want to be a part of the change that can hopefully come about by being honest about what this all is, racism.”
This protest and future events are organized to create unity on campus. While showing the administration that students are not standing down, they plan to continue telling their stories and protesting until changes are made.
“The goal of the protest was to create a public disturbance, to the administration while standing up to the hate that has circulated around the Asian community,” Schmidt said. “We marched in memory of the victims of the Asian hate crimes that occurred in Atlanta.”
As the march continued, the leaders and speakers continued to educate the protesters with stories and insight on what goes on behind the scenes. Bypassers either gave an affirming honk or made an effort to roll down their window to express their ignorance.
At the end of the protest, members of the crowd were able to come up and speak about their experiences and give their support.
“There were a lot of heart wrenching stories about how much oppression has been put on people of color on campus and off,” Shmidt said. “But the main message taken from the whole event was that if someone was feeling oppressed, they had all of the people surrounding them to support them and help spark change.”
Blmfargo is starting a new group called “think tank” where members meet and talk about changes they want to see in the NDSU community such as future protests, fundraising, other events, etc. Students can contact @blmndsu or @bipoc.fargo via DM on Instagram.
“We are working hard to make NDSU a community where people of all races, religions, genders, etc. feel accepted and appreciated,” Schmidt said. “If there is something that you would like to report happening on campus, or you or someone you know is feeling like a victim of hate crimes/speech do not be afraid to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or the instagrams listed above.”