Students March Toward Equality


Photo by Tyler Langenberg

University of Central Missouri Students marched for over two miles through university streets.

Written by Brandon Cannon, Reporter

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  • Students gathered to march through university streets for almost two miles. Photos by Tyler Langenberg

  • Senior Raven said, “Raven said, “I just like to support people, and I want to see everyone’s side.”

  • Senior Lauren said, “I’m here because I want to promote equality and inclusivity on campus, making sure that everyone is included in everything.”

  • Senior Jahana Hamilton, national pan-hellic council president at UCM, said, “It is important for the Black community to come together at the school and showcase the social injustice that is in our nation.”

  • There were about 150 students present at the event with about 15% being white supporter and the other 85% being Black.

  • There was a moment of silence for victims of racial injustice.

  • Senior Asia Thomas created a speed painting of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as a display of passion for the cause.

  • Lover Chancler, the director of the Center for Multiculturalism and Inclusivity, answered audience questions and talked about future plans with university officials.

    Photo by Katelyn Oren

  • Bryant Williams, the vice president of the Association of Black Collegians of Student Government Activities gave a speech expressing the need for students to vote and create change.

  On Sep. 15 at the University Amphitheater, after marching almost 2 miles through university streets, UCM students gathered at the “Together We Stand” event to discuss racism, social injustice and other discriminatory practices in the United States. The rally included multiple speeches and demonstrations. A display of talent and passion was given through a speed painting of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by senior Asia Thomas, and Bryant Williams, the vice president of the association of black collegians of student government activities gave a speech, during which he expressed students’ need to bridge the gap between policy that creates political division and the amount of Americans voting. 

  The general purpose of the rally was to get students involved with decision and policy making. Emphasizing action, Williams asked,  “what’s next?”and encouraged students to use their right to vote. Williams said it’s up to the people in the community to make an effort to create new opportunities and chances for the next generation. 

  Dominique Hampton, graduate assistant of the Center for Multiculturalism and Inclusivity, spearheaded this movement and helped organize the march. 

  “This is one of the biggest events that I coordinated, not just here on UCM, but in my life,” Hampton said. He said he didn’t have much expectation for how the event turnout would be. The march began with 70 people, but it quickly ballooned as it moved through campus and other students and faculty members joined. The final number present was close to 150 people. With about 15% being white supporters and the other 85% being Black.

  Hampton said, “It was an effective night. Students had the opportunity to share their voices and expressed their concerns that we will bring to department heads in future meetings.”

  Phil Bridgmon, provost and vice president of academic affairs offered a perspective of a white ally.

  “This is an important and wonderful first step today,” Bridgmon said.  “Well, frankly we have to keep listening and supporting. We have to fulfill our mission as human beings to march towards social justice.”

  Freshman Kolby McCollum said, “I believe that the importance, even as a white man, is to support people of all colors, but in this case specifically for African Americans. Because I believe that we humans should be looking out for each other, and I would expect them to do the same if I was in their situation. I would expect them to come out and support us just as I will come out and support them.”

  Many students were vocal about their support for the Black community and explained why students must fight racial injustice.Graduate assistant Esther Akheituame protested for the first time and said it was a successful experience.

  “It was nerve-racking during the march because none of my friends decided to join me, and it took me a moment to feel comfortable,” Akheituame said. “However, as the event continued to play out, you could feel the change in atmosphere. People were extremely happy with how open and honest students were and how many people came in attendance.”

  Senior Jahana Hamilton, national pan-hellenic council president at UCM said, “It is important for the black community to come together, at the school and showcase the social injustice that is in our nation.”

  Junior interior design major Hadiya Thompson said, “I think this is enough and a time where we should be together and show love to each other. No one should ever feel less than anyone because of your color.”

  Students were given the opportunity to submit a survey to voice their opinions anonymously, or they could present in front of the crowd. There were 15 students who spoke to the crowd. Emotions were high as people began to open up and dig into their core feelings.

  Another event is being planned for sometime in October. The Center will follow up on student concerns and questions during the next board meeting, as it addresses university policy and regulation as it pertains to campus life and support to black and minority students.