Members of Students Against Social Injustice (SASI) marched on campus Friday afternoon to demand the university administration remove its Confederate monument. The protest was not met with counterprotesters after the leader of Confederate 901 initially said in a Facebook post on Thursday that he planned to counterprotest SASI’s event.
“We are here today to put pressure on the administration,” SASI Secretary Em Gill said. “And, to let them know we want that racist statue taken down.”
Jaz Brisack, the university’s first female Rhodes Scholar, called for the university administration to rename many of the buildings on campus that “honor white supremacists.”
“I don’t think there’s any secret to why we’re here today,” she said. “I think that we are all here because there’s a blight of white supremacy on this campus and state, and we know it.”
Jaz Brisack, current UM Rhodes Scholar and student activist addresses the crowd and calls for the university administration to change building names that “honor white supremacists.” pic.twitter.com/6FB9117Cqw
— Taylor Vance (@Taylor_Vance28) February 22, 2019
Cries of “What’s disgusting? Racist statues! What’s outrageous? UM values!” and “What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!” rang out as the group marched through the rain, police officers positioned along their path.
Ahead of today’s march, the University Police Department said it planned to have an increased presence due to “social media activity” Thursday night. Several law enforcement officials were parked in marked and unmarked vehicles on University Avenue next to the Circle.
Renee Bradley, a graduate student, shared her story about the racism she has experienced in her life and on campus.
“How much pain do my people feel having to look at that statue every single day,” she asked. “Because it seems like (the university) doesn’t care about me being here as a black student, as a black female student.”
Taia McAfee spoke to the crowd gathered around the statue.
“Larry Sparks can take this statue down, and administration can make this happen,” Mcafee said.
Camille Calisch, a junior anthropology major and SASI member, said the march was successful.
The protest marks the second day in a row where students have marched in the rain to protest the statue.
On Thursday, minority groups organized a silent Black History Month March, where students celebrated the lives of civil rights activists and also called for the removal of the statue. Pro-Confederate groups are set to march on the campus tomorrow at 1 p.m.
Check out our full coverage of the weekend protests here.